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Tesla, Cisco, Twitter and Jerome Powell - 5 Things You Must Know Wednesday

Stock futures rise modestly; Tesla will be allowed to reopen California plant next week; Twitter allows employees to work from home 'forever.'

Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, May 13:

1. -- Stock Futures Point Modestly Higher

Stock futures were modestly higher Wednesday, a day after the S&P 500 fell 2% on warnings from the nation's top infectious diseases expert about reopening the U.S. too soon and ahead of comments on the state of the economy from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.  

Stocks on Wall Street finished lower Tuesday after Fauci, in testimony before a Senate committee, said that if the country reopens too soon it could lead to needless “suffering and death” and could set back plans to reopen the economy.

Downbeat comments from Fed officials, including Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester, were limiting gains in stock futures early Wednesday.

Mester said she believes the economy can begin recovering from the coronavirus pandemic in the second half of the year but added the recovery will need "further direct fiscal support" from the U.S. government "if we are to avoid the longer-lasting damage to the economy that would happen if job losses become persistent and a large share of otherwise viable businesses fail."

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 169 points, futures for the S&P 500 rose 18 points and Nasdaq futures gained 71 points.

2. -- Fed Chairman Powell Speech, Cisco Earnings Are Wednesday Highlights

The economic calendar Wednesday includes an address from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in a 9 a.m. ET webcast hosted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The central bank has taken aggressive measures during the pandemic, and Powell has said the Fed will use its "full range of tools" to shore up the U.S. economy.

The calendar also includes the Mortgage Bankers Association's mortgage applications index for the week ended May 8 at 7 a.m., the Producer Price Index for April at 8:30 a.m. and Oil Inventories for the week ended May 8 at 10:30 a.m.

Earnings reports are expected Wednesday from Cisco Systems  (CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems Inc. Report, Dillard's  (DDS) - Get Dillard's Inc. Report, Jack in the Box  (JACK) - Get Jack In The Box Inc. Report, Flowers Foods  (FLO) - Get Flowers Foods Inc. Report, SmileDirectClub  (SDC) - Get SmileDirectClub, Inc. - Ordinary Shares - Class A Report and CyberArk Software  (CYBR) - Get CyberArk Software Ltd. Report.

3. -- Tesla Will Be Allowed to Reopen California Plant

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report will be allowed to reopen its auto factory in Fremont, California, as early as next week if the electric carmaker meets agreed-to worker safety precautions, Alameda County officials said.

Tesla met a deadline of Monday to submit a site-specific plan to protect worker safety, the Associated Press reported.

“We will be working with the Fremont PD to verify Tesla is adhering to physical distancing and that agreed upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their workers as they prepare for full production,” a press release from the county said.

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Tesla’s factory reopened Monday in violation of Alameda County's stay-at-home orders and CEO Elon Musk threatened to pull the company's operations from California.

The Tesla CEO over the weekend tweeted that Alameda County’s mandate that Tesla’s Fremont factory remain closed was “the final straw,” and said that Tesla would move its headquarters and future programs to Nevada and Texas “immediately.”

Tesla shares rose 2.17% in premarket trading to $827.

4. -- Facebook to Pay $52 Million to Moderators Who Developed PTSD

Facebook  (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Report agreed to pay $52 million to current and former moderators to compensate them for PTSD and other mental health issues developed on the job, according to a report from the Verge. 

In a preliminary settlement filed in San Mateo Superior Court, Facebook agreed to pay damages to American moderators and provide more counseling to them while they work.

Each moderator will receive a minimum of $1,000 and will be eligible for additional compensation if diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or related conditions, the Verge reported. 

The settlement covers 11,250 moderators.

The payout follows a class-action lawsuit filed in September 2018 describing the circumstances of Facebook content moderators who developed symptoms of PTSD after regularly watching photos and images of rape, murder, and suicide.

5. -- Twitter Allows Employees to Work From Home 'Forever'

Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Twitter Inc. Report announced in a blog post that employees can work from home as long as they want even after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

When Twitter offices reopen, it will be up to employees to decide if they want to come into the office for work.

"Twitter was one of the first companies to go to a work from home model in the face of Covid-19, but we don’t anticipate being one of the first to return to offices," said Jennifer Christie, Twitter's vice president of people, in the blog post.

"The past few months have proven we can make that work. So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen," Christie added. "If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it's safe to return."

Twitter also announced it won't open any offices before September 2020, with a few exceptions, and when it does open its offices, it will be done with "careful and intentional ..." care to protect employees.