What to watch today: S&P 500, Nasdaq set to add to records with two days left in August

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BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures rose slightly Monday after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs Friday. The S&P 500 ended above 4,500 for the first time ever. The Dow‘s rally brought it to within 0.5% of its record close on Aug. 16. Stocks rallied Friday after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled that central bankers are in no rush to raise interest rates. He said decision-making on rate hikes is on a different track than tapering bond purchases, which he acknowledged could start this year. (CNBC)

With two days left in August, the Dow was up nearly 1.5%, the S&P 500 was 2.6% higher and the Nasdaq was up 3.1%. Whether Wall Street’s gains can continue may depend on the government’s latest monthly employment report, which is set for release on Friday. While saying the Fed has seen sufficient progress on inflation, Powell said the labor market has not yet improved enough to start the tapering. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. oil prices fell modestly early Monday after surging 10.6% for their strongest week in more than a year. Gasoline prices rose over 1% after Ida made landfall Sunday in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane. More than 1 million Louisiana customers were without power, including the entire city of New Orleans. Ida came ashore 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina. In advance of Ida, more than 95% of U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude oil production was shuttered. Many refineries were also closed. (Reuters & CNBC)

* Colonial Pipeline halts gasoline deliveries to the U.S. East Coast due Ida (Reuters)

Senior Biden administration officials said the U.S. has the capacity to evacuate some 300 U.S. citizens remaining in Afghanistan who want to leave before the president’s Tuesday deadline for pulling out American forces from the war-torn country. The evacuations turned chaotic as the U.S. government was caught by surprise when the Afghan army collapsed and the Taliban swept back to power Aug. 15. (CNBC)

* Rockets target U.S. troops as Afghanistan withdrawal enters final stage (Reuters)
* U.S. drone strikes an ISIS-K vehicle packed with explosives in Kabul (CNBC)
* Bidens meet with families of fallen U.S. service members after deadly attack in Kabul (CNBC)

Moderna (MRNA) fell 2.7% in the premarket after 1 million more Covid-19 vaccine doses were pulled from circulation in Japan on contamination concerns. An initial withdrawal of 1.63 million doses had taken place last week after foreign substances were found in some batches, with contamination now linked to two deaths. Spain’s Rovi, which bottles the does for markets outside the U.S., said it’s investigating. (Reuters)

Cases in Israel, a barometer of U.S. trends, saw daily infections reach a pandemic high of more than 12,100. Just months ago, after an aggressive national vaccine drive, new cases in Israel had fallen to double digits. Around 63% of the Israeli population has been fully vaccinated. In the U.S., 52.3% of the population has been fully vaccinated. (CNBC)

The seven-day average of new daily Covid cases in the U.S. rose 5% to 155,277 as of Sunday. Over than same period, daily Covid deaths averaged 1,290. That’s an increase of 29% over the prior week, fanned by the delta variant. (JHU)

In a bombshell revelation just days before her criminal fraud trial, defense attorneys for Elizabeth Holmes claim she’s suffered a “decade-long campaign of psychological abuse” from her former boyfriend and business partner Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. Both have pleaded not guilty and deny any wrongdoing. (CNBC)

The driver of a 2019 Tesla Model 3 told officers she was using Autopilot, Tesla’s (TSLA) advanced driver assistance system, when she collided with a police car and a Mercedes SUV Saturday morning around 5 a.m. ET in Orlando, Florida. No injuries or fatalities were reported. (CNBC)

CVS Health (CVS) is betting Americans will get therapy at the same place they buy their snacks, soda and prescription drugs. The pharmacy company is among several retailers including Walmart (WMT) and Walgreens (WBA) experimenting with offering counseling services in or near stores. (WSJ)

* EEOC: Walmart should face tight scrutiny due to wrongful firing of employee with Down syndrome (CNBC)

Ed Asner, the burly and prolific character actor who became a star in middle age as the gruff but lovable newsman Lou Grant, first in the hit comedy “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died Sunday. He was 91. Asner played Warren Buffett in HBO’s “Too Big to Fail” in 2011. (AP)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Satellite services provider Globalstar (GSAT) soared 41% in the premarket following a report in AppleInsider that the iPhone 13 will have the ability to utilize satellite communications.

Li Auto (LI) reported a smaller-than-expected loss and revenue that exceeded analysts’ forecasts for its latest quarter. The China-based electric vehicle maker also said it delivered 17,575 vehicles during the quarter, a 166% increase over a year earlier. Li Auto shares gained 2.3% in premarket trading.

Hill-Rom (HRC) is in advanced talks to be acquired by health-care products maker Baxter International (BAX), according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Wall Street Journal. The potential deal for the medical equipment maker is about $10 billion or $150 per share, compared to Hill-Rom’s Friday close of $132.90. Hill-Rom rallied 8.7% in the premarket.

Contract drug manufacturer Catalent (CTLT) struck a deal to buy nutritional supplement maker Bettera from private-equity firm Highlander partners for $1 billion. Separately, Catalent reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for its fiscal fourth quarter, and the stock jumped 2% in the premarket.

Support.com (SPRT) surged 46% in the premarket after the provider of technical support saw its stock rise for the past seven sessions in a row and jump 223% over that stretch. There has been no news of significance from the company over that stretch.