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Walmart, Moderna, Home Depot, Disney - 5 Things You Must Know Tuesday

Stock futures fluctuate; Walmart and Home Depot report earnings; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to testify before Congress.

Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, May 19:

1. -- Stock Futures Mostly Higher 

Stock futures turned mostly higher Tuesday, a day after equities rallied sharply on hopes of a coronavirus vaccine from drugmaker Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna Inc. Report, following earnings from Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report that topped expectations and ahead of congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Further strains in the deteriorating U.S.-China relationship were putting a cap on gains. Bloomberg reported that Nasdaq was planning new rules that would make initial public offerings more difficult for some Chinese companies.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 24 points, futures for the S&P 500 declined 2 points and Nasdaq futures were up 15 points.

The S&P 500 finished Monday with a gain of 3.2%, its best session since early April after a coronavirus vaccine candidate from Moderna showed positive results in early-stage trials, and Powell expressed optimism the country can begin to rebound in the second half of 2020.

The possibility of a vaccine to combat the deadly coronavirus was embraced by Wall Street as the U.S. economy begins to gradually reopen after shutting down during the pandemic.

“The question of how quickly people come back, or will they come back to the way they used to do things, that’s much different if you have a vaccine,” said Megan Horneman, director of the portfolio strategy at Verdence Capital Advisors. 

With Round-the-Clock News, Futures Are Often the First to Respond

2. -- Walmart, Home Depot and Kohl's Report Earnings

Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report earned $1.18 a share on an adjusted basis in the first quarter, beating estimates by 6 cents, on revenue of $134.62 billion.

Same-store sales in the period rose 10%.

The world's largest retailer said it would be withdrawing its 2020 guidance because of uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic.

Home Depot  (HD) - Get Home Depot Inc. (The) Report posted weaker-than-expected first-quarter earnings and scrapped its 2020 profit guidance as costs to counter the coronavirus pandemic reached $850 million.

Same-store sales in the first quarter rose by 6.4%.

Earnings reports are also expected Tuesday from Kohl's  (KSS) - Get Kohl's Corporation Report.

Where to Buy Home Depot on an Earnings Pullback

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3. -- Powell and Mnuchin to Testify Before Senate Banking Committee 

The economic calendar Tuesday includes Housing Starts for April at 8:30 a.m. ET, while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before the Senate Banking Committee at 10 a.m.

Powell, in prepared testimony ahead of his hearing before the Senate committee concerning the $2 trillion economic-relief packages, said the Fed would double down on its commitment to do all it can to keep financial markets functioning and liquid.

“We are committed to using our full range of tools to support the economy in this challenging time even as we recognize that these actions are only a part of a broader public-sector response,” Powell said.

Powell noted the central bank had taken its policy interest rate to near zero the coronavirus pandemic forced shutdowns of much of the economy in March. 

“We expect to maintain interest rates at this level until we are confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve our maximum-employment and price-stability goals,” he said in his prepared testimony. 

4. -- Disney+ Executive to Lead TikTok

Kevin Mayer, a top executive at Walt Disney  (DIS) - Get The Walt Disney Company Report in charge of the media and entertainment giant's successful streaming efforts, resigned and will take the reins at social app TikTok.

Mayer, who led Disney's direct-to-consumer and international segment, announced his departure from Disney on Monday.

The stock, which rose more than 7% to $116.85 Monday on a strong day for the stock market, was down 1.12% to $115.54 in premarket trading Tuesday.

Disney said that Rebecca Campbell, a company veteran who previously was president of Disney Resorts, will now lead Disney's DTC and international segment. Josh D’Amaro will take over Campbell's previous post.

In addition to his role as TikTok CEO, Mayer will serve as a chief operating officer of ByteDance, TikTok's parent company. 

5. -- Baidu Earnings Exceed Wall Street Estimates

Baidu BIDU, the Chinese internet search giant, posted first-quarter earnings ahead of analysts' forecasts and offered an optimistic forecast as economic activity rebounds in China.

Baidu posted adjusted earnings of $1.25 per American depositary receipt on revenue of $3.18 billion. Analysts had been expecting Baidu to report earnings of 54 cents per ADR and revenue of $3.1 billion.

“With the pandemic coming under control in China, offline activities are rebounding and Baidu stands to benefit from a restart of the Chinese economy," said Robin Li, co-founder, and CEO of Baidu, in a statement.

For the second quarter, Baidu said it expects revenue of $3.5 billion to $3.9 billion vs. analysts' expectations of $3.62 billion.

ADRs of Baidu were rising 8% to $116.20 in premarket trading Tuesday.