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Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, Sept. 29:
1. — Stock Futures Mixed as Virus Deaths Top 1 Million
Stock futures turned mixed Tuesday as the global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic passed 1 million and investors assessed a fresh $2.2 trillion aid proposal from House Democrats.
Wall Street also was looking ahead to the first presidential debate Tuesday evening between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 7 points, S&P 500 futures were up 2 points and Nasdaq futures declined 10 points.
The scaled back $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package released by House Democrats Monday evening would restore $600 weekly jobless benefits. The proposal is less than the $3.4 billion bill passed by the House in May, but remains above what Senate Republicans have said they would accept.
A vote on the legislation could come later this week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Monday evening and the two agreed to talk again Tuesday. Negotiations over Covid-19 relief have been at a stalemate since early August.
“While investors may be feeling optimistic about a stimulus, I think there are still some significant risks ahead the market today does not seem to be reflecting,” said Ken Moraif, senior financial advisor at Retirement Planners of America. “We have what I believe is complete uncertainty about the impact of the upcoming election, the future path of Covid-19, and worries about rising infections in the winter, which could all stunt economic growth.
“While these issues have all been weighing on the market for weeks now and the market has remained relatively stable, it is difficult to predict if they ever will eventually catch up with the market. Right now, I am not overly optimistic about where the market is headed, but I do remain cautiously bullish,” Moraif added.
The number of confirmed global deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, topped 1 million on Monday evening, according to Johns Hopkins University, almost 10 months after the disease first emerged in Wuhan, China.
The U.S. death toll is 205,085, the most in the world and more than 20% of the global total.
Brazil is second on the list, with more than 142,000 deaths, while India is third.
The virus has taken more lives this year than H.I.V., malaria, influenza and cholera, and many health experts say the true death toll from Covid-19 could be almost double.
“This is a very serious global event, and a lot of people were going to get sick and many of them were going to die, but it did not need to be nearly this bad,” Tom Inglesby, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told The New York Times.
3. — Tuesday’s Calendar: Micron Earnings, Consumer Confidence
The economic calendar in the U.S. Tuesday includes the U.S. Goods Deficit for August at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Case-Shiller House Price Index for July at 9 a.m. and Consumer Confidence for September at 10 a.m.
Earnings reports are expected Tuesday from Micron Technology (MU) – Get Report, IHS Markit (INFO) – Get Report, Progress Software (PRGS) – Get Report and McCormick (MKC) – Get Report.
4. — Microsoft Says Office 365 and Teams Are Back After Outages
Microsoft (MSFT) – Get Report said outages to Office 365, Teams and some of its other online services have been resolved after being knocked off-line for several hours.
A company spokesman confirmed the outages, which also impacted Exchange Online and OneDrive. He didn’t have any information on the causes of the outages, Bloomberg reported.
Microsoft tweeted late Monday that “most users should be experiencing relief.”
Problems with some of the services were reported earlier Monday by Downdetector, suggesting the outages had lasted a number of hours before being taken up by Microsoft’s recovery team, Bloomberg noted.
Microsoft shares rose 0.51% to $210.50 in premarket trading Tuesday.
The incident follows a similar outage last week at Alphabet’s (GOOGL) – Get Report Google, which experienced service disruptions to its email, YouTube and Google documents services.
5. — LVMH Countersues Tiffany Over Failed Merger
French fashion giant LVMH Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton countersued Tiffany (TIF) – Get Report weeks after pulling out of its $16 billion takeover of the jewelry company.
LVMH said in a filing Monday in Delaware Chancery Court that it had grounds to back out of the deal because Tiffany’s business was badly damaged during the coronavirus pandemic, invalidating the agreement.
“The pandemic’s disruption to the luxury industry and to Tiffany in particular will persist well into 2021 at a bare minimum,” said LVMH’s complaint. “Tiffany is particularly ill-suited for the challenges ahead.”
Tiffany “is a mismanaged business that over the first half of 2020 hemorrhaged cash for the first time in a quarter century, with no end to its problems in sight,” the LVMH complaint added.