Futures tracking the Dow Jones index were lower on Thursday ahead of the weekly jobless claims report, leaving investors eyeing the risk of another business shutdown as COVID-19 cases continue to soar, plus stocks to watch today in the Money & Markets Opening Bell.
The Top Story
Recent upbeat economic data, including the record pace of job additions in June, has helped push the stock market close to new highs.
The benchmark S&P 500 has jumped more than 43% from its March lows and is about 7% from reaching its previous high set back in February. On Wednesday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq reached a new all-time high.
But investors will be reacting to the Labor Department’s latest unemployment claims report which showed 1.3 million Americans filed for state jobless benefits in the last week — down from 1.43 million claims the prior week.
Another issue investors are grappling with is the continued rise in coronavirus cases. The U.S. reported more than 60,000 new cases on Wednesday, setting a single-day global record.
As of 9:20 a.m., Dow Jones futures were down 0.04%. S&P 500 futures were 0.15% higher and Nasdaq futures moved 0.62% higher.
Stocks to Watch Today
Costco Wholesale Corp. (Nasdaq: COST) — The membership-only warehouse club retailer said its sales for the five weeks ending July 5 jumped 11.1% year over year to $16.2 billion. Shares of Costco were up nearly 2% in premarket trading.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBY) — The domestic merchandise retail store reported a 49% drop in sales, and said it was closing 200 stores over the next two years as a result. Earnings losses were much higher than analysts projected. Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond were down nearly 9%.
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA) — The pharmacy and retail chain said its adjusted quarterly earnings were $0.83 per share — below Wall Street estimates of $1.18 per share. Walgreens’ shares were trading down 3.1%.
United Airlines Warns 36,000 Employees of Potential Furlough
Chicago-based United Airlines Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: UAL) may potentially cut nearly half its U.S. workforce as the airline industry continues to struggle with slumping travel conditions due to the coronavirus.
The airline is sending mandatory 60-day notices per federal labor rules, to 36,000 of its employees. It comes a week after American Airlines Group Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL) said it could be shedding as many as 20,000 jobs, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Carriers are facing more struggles as executives expect any recovery in the demand slump to take years. A pickup in new COVID-19 cases across the U.S. are pushing new quarantine measures in large cities, keeping fliers from traveling.
FBI, Federal Prosecutors Looking at Wirecard as Part of Larger Probe
The Department of Justice is looking at whether scandal-riddled German payment company Wirecard AG had a role in an alleged $100 million bank fraud conspiracy.
Two people have already been charged in connection with the investigation. They are accused of conspiring with third-party payment processors and others to trick banks into approving credit card payments for marijuana products, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Wirecard, once a German giant, has fallen significantly after revelations last month that more than $2 billion the company claimed to have never existed.
Liquidity Conditions Making Markets Vulnerable, Analysts Say
Stocks are still trying to restore liquidity after the coronavirus meltdown. And markets could be exposed to new shocks because of low liquidity, according to a report from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) analysts.
According to Bloomberg, market strategists have expressed concern over tight liquidity and fragility as passive investing and high-frequency trading have grown since the COVID-19 crisis began.
JPMorgan analysts said the credit and bond markets are close to their pre-COVID-19 liquidity levels while equities and foreign exchanges “still seem to be some way from pre-correction levels.”
What We’re Reading
Bear Market Will Return: Pad Your Portfolio With 1 Stock (Money & Markets)
Current Government Deficits Are Unprecedented — and Bearish for the Future (Money & Markets)
The Bull & The Bear: Why a Quick Economic Recovery Won’t Happen (Money & Markets)
Here are the companies releasing earnings reports today:
Capstone Turbine Corp. (Nasdaq: CPST)
Helen of Troy Ltd. (Nasdaq: HELE)
PriceSmart Inc. (Nasdaq: PSMT)
Simulations Plus Inc. (Nasdaq: SLP)
WD-40 Co. (Nasdaq: WDFC)
Check back each morning before the opening bell for stocks to watch today with Opening Bell, here on Money & Markets.