Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Dow set to add to Wednesday's record high close
- Jobless claims not as bad as expected
- Biden to address nation on coronavirus response
- WHO declared Covid a pandemic 1 year ago
- It's Day 2 on NYSE for Roblox and debut for Coupang
1. Dow set to add to Wednesday's record high close
Dow futures rose about 100 points Thursday, one day after the 30-stock average surged 1.5% to close at a record high as falling bond yields and the newly passed Covid stimulus package spurred equity buying. The Nasdaq took a breather after Tuesday's nearly 3.7% rally. However, tech stocks, including Apple and Tesla, were popping in Thursday's premarket, sending Nasdaq futures up more than 200 points or 1.6%.
2. Jobless claims not as bad as expected
The Labor Department on Thursday reported 712,000 new filings for unemployment benefits during the week ended March 6. That's fewer than estimates of 725,000, but still well above pre-pandemic levels.
The 10-year Treasury yield was under pressure ahead of the weekly initial jobless claims data and remained so afterwards, trading around 1.5% on Thursday, retreating from one-year highs above 1.6% in recent days.
3. Biden to address nation on coronavirus response
President Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver a prime-time address Thursday night, to talk about the next phase of the U.S. response to Covid, one year since the World Health Organization declared the spread of the coronavirus a pandemic.
On Friday, Biden plans to sign the $1.9 trillion relief package, which passed the Democratic-held House on Wednesday and Senate on Saturday with no Republican votes. The plan includes a federal unemployment benefits boost, direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans, tax credit expansions, and funds for vaccine distribution and state and local governments.
4. WHO declared Covid a pandemic 1 year ago
The past year of the pandemic saw over 118 million global Covid infections and 2.6 million deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. accounted for 24% of the world's cases and at least 529,267, or about 20%, of the fatalities. There were 58,611 new infections in America on Wednesday, slightly above the seven-day average but down 80% from single-day peak on Jan. 2.
The CDC's numbers show that nearly 33 million people, or almost 10% of the U.S. population, have been fully vaccinated. The U.S. has approved three vaccines for emergency use: Two-shot regimens from Pfizer and Moderna and a one-shot course from Johnson & Johnson.
5. It's Day 2 on NYSE for Roblox and debut for Coupang
Shares of Roblox, a kids gaming app that surged in popularity during the pandemic, jumped another 10% in the premarket after one of Cathie Wood's popular Ark funds bought the stock on its first day. The direct listing soared over 54% in Wednesday's trading from its reference price of $45 per share, giving it a market value of more than $38 billion.
Coupang is set to make its Wall Street debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday after the South Korean e-commerce company priced its 130 million share IPO at $35 per share. That's above the expected range of $32 to $34. Coupang raised $4.6 billion in the largest U.S. initial public offering so far this year.