Trump, Apple, Southwest, Coronavirus - 5 Things You Must Know Tuesday

Stock futures mixed after President Trump returns to the White House after being hospitalized for Covid-19; Southwest seeks pay cuts in an effort to avoid layoffs; Apple stops selling third-party audio products.

Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, Oct. 6:

1. -- Stock Futures Mixed After Trump Returns to White House 

Stock futures were mixed Tuesday after President Donald Trump returned to the White House after being hospitalized for Covid-19, and investors remained hopeful Washington would come through with further economic stimulus.

Wall Street also awaited a speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 86 points, S&P 500 futures were up 2 points and Nasdaq futures declined 19 points.

Stocks finished higher Monday after Trump said before markets closed that he'd be leaving the hospital, and on optimism over a coronavirus-relief package. The S&P 500 posted its best day in almost four weeks on Monday.

Trump spent less than three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. His medical team said Trump "may not entirely be out of the woods yet" but that he had met or exceeded standards for discharge from the hospital.

Trump created a fresh firestorm after removing his mask when he returned to the White House and telling the American people in a video not to let the coronavirus "dominate you" and "don't be afraid of it." Covid-19 has killed more than 210,000 people in the United States.

“I was aghast when he said Covid should not be feared,” William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, told Reuters.

“This is a disease that is killing around a thousand people a day, has torpedoed the economy, put people out of work. This is a virus that should be both respected and feared,” he added.

2. -- Coronavirus - The Latest

The number of confirmed global deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, rose to 1.044 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed cases of the virus across the world have risen to 35,485,738.

The U.S. death toll is 210,195, the most in the world and more than 20% of the global total. The number of infected people in the U.S. was 7,458,549.

The White House is seeking to block strict new Food and Drug Administration guidelines for the emergency release of a coronavirus vaccine, objecting to a provision that likely will guarantee no vaccine could be authorized before the presidential election on Nov. 3, The New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the approval process. President Trump repeatedly has said a vaccine would be ready by Election Day.

Joe Biden, Trump's Democratic challenger in next month's election, said during a town hall that he wasn't shocked Trump had contracted the virus.

“Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying masks ‘don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter’ I think is responsible for what happens to them,” Biden said during a town hall in Miami hosted by NBC News.

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In 34 U.S. states, the seven-day average of new cases is higher now than it was a month ago, according to Bloomberg.

“The weather report is darkly cloudy with further storms on the horizon,” said William Schaffner, the Vanderbilt University infectious diseases professor.

3. -- Tuesday's Calendar: Levi's Earnings, JOLTS Report

The economic calendar in the U.S. Tuesday includes a speech, via webcast, from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at the National Association for Business Economics annual meeting. Powell's speech begins at 10:40 a.m. ET.

The calendar Tuesday also includes Goods and Services Trade for August at 8:30 a.m. and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for August at 10 a.m.

Earnings reports are expected Tuesday from Levi Strauss  (LEVI) - Get Levi Strauss & Co. Class A Report and Paychex  (PAYX) - Get Paychex, Inc. Report.

4. -- Southwest Seeks Pay Cuts to Avoid Layoffs

Southwest Airlines  (LUV) - Get Southwest Airlines Co. Report is looking to cut employee compensation in an effort to avoid layoffs for the first time in its history as the coronavirus pandemic has led to a collapse in air travel.

The airline pledged to avoid furloughs or layoffs this year. It has never cut jobs in its 49-year history.

But CEO Gary Kelly warned employees in a video message Monday that “we all need to sacrifice more.” Kelly has been receiving reduced pay since March and Monday said he wouldn't get paid at all through the end of 2021.

“We would have to wipe out a large swath of salaries, wages, and benefits to match the low traffic levels, to have any hope of just breaking even,” Kelly said. “Absent substantial improvements in our business, our quarterly losses could be in the billions until vaccines are available, distributed, and effectively kill the pandemic - and at best that is looking like late next year.”

Kelly said he has "not given up" hope for pandemic relief for the industry from Congress. Pay cuts would be abandoned if the government provides additional aid, the CEO said.

5. -- Apple Stops Selling Third-Party Audio Products

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report has stopped selling headphones and wireless speakers from rivals such as Sonos  (SONO) - Get Sonos, Inc. Report, Bose and Logitech International  (LOGI) - Get Logitech International S.A. Report as the tech giant prepares to launch its own new audio products, Bloomberg reported.

Sonos’s latest smart speaker, all headphones and speakers from Bose, and speakers from Logitech’s Ultimate Ears brand disappeared from Apple’s online store at the end of last month, according to checks by Bloomberg. The company has long sold third-party hardware on its website, Bloomberg noted.

Employees at Apple’s physical retail locations were also instructed to remove the products for sale at stores in recent days. 

Sonos shares fell 0.9% in premarket trading Tuesday to $15.50. Logitech was down 5.92% to $75.99.