Tesla, Jack Dorsey, Zoom Video, Coronavirus Crisis - 5 Things You Must Know Wednesday

Stock futures point to a modestly higher open for Wall Street; the White House is putting plans together to re-open the U.S. economy; Tesla will cut salaries and furlough workers as the pandemic forces plant closures.
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Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, April 8:

1. -- Stock Futures Point to a Modestly Higher Open

Stock futures were up modestly Wednesday and European shares declined after eurozone finance ministers failed to agree on a response to the coronavirus.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 92 points, S&P 500 futures gained 10 points and Nasdaq futures were up 40 points.

U.S. equities closed slightly to the downside Tuesday, erasing sharp gains from earlier in the session on traders' optimism that the coronavirus pandemic was slowing in some global hot spots.

The Dow, which had been up 937 points, or 4%, at its session high, finished down 26 points, or 0.12%, to 22,653.86. The S&P 500 fell 0.16% and the Nasdaq ended down 0.33%.

European Union finance ministers, following a 16-hour conference call, failed to reach agreement on a plan to help economies in the region fight the crisis. Another call has been scheduled for Thursday.

In the U.S., the White House has been putting together plans to re-open the $22 trillion economy that has been stalled by the pandemic. Putting the country back in action would depend on a number of factors but wider testing availability would be a critical component.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes Oil Inventories for the week ended April 3 at 10:30 a.m. ET, and minutes of the Federal Reserve’s March 15 emergency meeting at 2 p.m.

The central bank on March 15 cut interest rates to essentially zero and announced a $700 billion quantitative easing program, saying the coronavirus outbreak "has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States."

2. -- Coronavirus - The Latest

The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 1,431,900, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and deaths increased to 82,171.

The U.S. has 399,929 cases of the coronavirus, the most in the world, according to Johns Hopkins CSSE. Deaths in the U.S. have risen to 12,910.

The coronavirus likely will be around for at least two years, an infectious diseases expert told Bloomberg, adding that it's unrealistic to believe the virus can be eradicated.

A vaccine likely won’t be available in large amounts for another 18 to 24 months, and countries need to do more frequent testing, said Peter Collignon, a professor at the Australian National University Medical School.

Wuhan, the original center of the global coronavirus outbreak, saw thousands of people buy train tickets out of the Chinese city as the 76-day lockdown was eased. Flights also have begun from the city’s international airport.

Foxconn, the Taiwan-based maker of Apple's  (AAPL) - Get Report iPhones, will begin making ventilators in the United States. Foxconn will team with  Medtronic  (MDT) - Get Report on the design and development of the devices. 

President Donald Trump said the U.S. might stop sending money to the World Health Organization after the WHO "blew it" by responding too slowly to the crisis. But it was the president who downplayed the crisis even after the WHO classified the outbreak as a pandemic.

3. -- Tesla to Cut Salaries, Furlough Workers 

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report said it would cut salaries as much as 30% starting Monday after the electric carmaker was forced to wind down production because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Salary cuts in the U.S. will be 30% for vice presidents and above, 20% for directors and above, and 10% for others, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg. Workers outside the U.S. will see similar pay cuts.

Employees who haven’t been assigned to critical tasks and who can’t work from home will be furloughed without pay, though they will keep healthcare benefits, the memo said, Bloomberg reported.

The furloughs will last through May 4, when Tesla said it plans to resume normal production at its U.S. plants.

Tesla's U.S. car production facility is in Fremont, Calif., where stay-at-home orders extend to May 3.

4. -- Jack Dorsey Donating $1 Billion for Virus Relief

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of both Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Report and Square  (SQ) - Get Report, said he would be donating $1 billion of his equity in Square, or 28% of his net worth, to start an organization to fund global Covid-19 relief. 

Dorsey said that "after we disarm this pandemic," the organization would shift to focusing on girl’s health and education, as well as universal basic income.

The CEO plans to distribute the funds through an LLC called the Start Small Foundation. 

Dorsey added he wanted to do something big now in order to see the impact of his donation in his lifetime, and was pulling the funds from Square rather than Twitter because he owns more of Square and because he’ll need to pace the sales of stock over time.

5. -- Zoom Video Sued for Hiding Security Flaws

Zoom Video Communications  (ZM) - Get Report was sued by a shareholder who accused the company of hiding flaws in its video-conferencing app.

In a complaint filed Tuesday in San Francisco federal court, Zoom Video and its top officers were accused of, among other things, concealing the truth about shortcomings in the app’s software encryption, including its alleged vulnerability to hackers, Bloomberg reported.

Shareholder Michael Drieu, who filed the suit as a class action, claimed that recent reports about the app’s deficiencies have pushed Zoom's share price lower. The stock has gained 67% so far this year but has lost about a third of its value since mid-March.