Stocks, BP, Treasury Borrowing and Tropical Storm Isaias - 5 Things You Must Know Tuesday

Stock futures edge lower on virus and China tension concerns, Treasury borrowing forecasts push overall U.S. debt past $25 trillion, BP slashes its dividend for the first time in a decade and Hurricane Isaias is downgraded to a topical storm.
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Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, August 4:

1. -- Markets Cautious on Virus Rise, China Tensions

U.S. equity futures traded cautiously Tuesday, while the U.S. dollar resumed its months-long decline, as traders continued to track the global resurgence in coronavirus infections and looked to today's round of talks in Washington for more stimulus spending.

Markets were also affected by another flare-up in U.S.-China tensions after President Donald Trump demanded that taxpayers receive a 'substantial portion' of any sale of the American operations of TikTok, the China-based social media app, after ordering it to be sold late last week.

Closer to home, U.S. coronavirus cases rose by around 41,000 yesterday, a notable fall from the recent pace of around 60,000, although total infections are now nearing 5 million and the global total -- with new hotspots in various economies around the world -- has surpassed 18 million.

U.S. lawmakers are set to revive talks on the next round of stimulus aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19's on the domestic economy, which has put more than 30 million Americans out of work and closed businesses, factories and restaurants up and down the country.

U.S. equity futures, meanwhile, suggest a cautious open on Wall Street Tuesday, ahead of a light day for earnings and economic data, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average suggesting a 45 point decline and those linked to the S&P 500 indicating an 8 point dip for the broader benchmark. The Nadsaq, which hit its 29th record close of the year last night, is priced for a 40 point retreat.

2. -- A Trillion Here, A Trillion There ... 

 The U.S. government's myriad coronavirus support pledges, including emergency unemployment benefits and paycheck protection schemes, will lead to around $2 trillion in extra borrowing between now and the end of the year, the U.S. Treasury said late Monday.

Around $947 billion in new government bonds, notes and bills will be sold over the three months ending in September, the Treasury said, with another $1.2 trillion in sales planned for the final three months of the year - "in anticipation of additional legislation being passed" over the coming days. The tab could grow larger, however, if Democrats and Republicans compromise on their respective bills, which remain $2 trillion apart, following talks this week in Washington.

Borrowing over the second quarter, which ended in June, surged to an eye-watering $2.753 trillion, the Treasury said, taking the total U.S. national debt past $25 trillion.

3. -- BP Plunges Into the Red, Makes Plans to Go Green

U.K. oil major  (BP) - Get Report plc BP posted its biggest quarterly loss on record Tuesday and slashed its dividend for the first time in a decade as crude producers around the world continue to struggle with both a slump in global demand and changes in energy consumption.

BP said it lost $6.7 billion over the three months ending in June, echoing the red ink spilled by U.S. rivals ExxonMobil XOM and Chevron CVX last week, and said it would halve its dividend to 5.25 cents per share .

BP shares rose sharply in London trading, however, after the group outlined plans for a tenfold increase in low-carbon spending over the next ten years as well as a reduction of is oil and gas production by about 40% from current levels. BP will shed around $25 billion in assets around the world in order to cover the costs of the transition. new CEO Bernard Looney Tuesday in London.

4. --  Take-Two And Call Me In The Morning

Take-Two Interactive Software  (TTWO) - Get Report shares surged higher in pre-market trading Tuesday after the video game maker posted stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings late last night amid a surge in online spending triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Take-Two said U.S. sales rose 26% from last year, to $1.2 billion, as Americans ordered to stay at home opted to spend time playing 'Grand Theft Auto' and 'NBA 2K' video games, two of the more popular offerings in the New York, NY-based group's stable of entertainment.

In fact, CEO Strauss Zelnick said recurrent spending on NBA 2K surged 126% higher from last year to a record high, and the launch of a new title in the franchise -- NBA 2K21 -- gave Zelnick the confidence to boost his company's current-quarter sales forecast. and boost the price of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions of the game to $69.99. 

5. -- Isaias Isn't A Blow Hard

Hurricane Isaias was downgraded to a tropical storm Tuesday by the National Hurricane Center in Miami after making landfall in North Carolina last night.

Isaias, which now carries windspeeds of around 70 miles per hour, is starting to move inland, but hit the Carolina coast at hurricane speeds, closings shops and restaurants and displacing dozens of residents in the small community of Ocean Isle Beach, just north of Myrtle Beach.

On the forecast track, the center of Isaias will to move into  southeastern Virginia early this morning, near or along the coast of  the mid-Atlantic states today, and across the northeastern United States into southern Canada tonight," the NHC said early Tuesday. 

"Only gradual weakening is anticipated while Isaias moves north-northeastward near the mid-Atlantic coast today," the NHC added. "A faster rate of weakening is expected to begin tonight, and the system is forecast to become post-tropical tonight or early Wednesday."