Markets

5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday

1. Dow set to open higher after breaking 3-day losing streak

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a higher Wall Street open Thursday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq broke three-sessions losing streaks Wednesday. However, they're still tracking for weekly losses after last week's record highs. The government at 8:30 a.m. ET releases its weekly look at initial jobless claims, a day after ADP's private sector jobs report for last month showed much weaker-than-expected hiring. The government releases its November employment report Friday ahead of next week's final Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting of the year. The Fed is expected to hold interest rates steady after three cuts in 2019. In a stock to watch, United Airlines on Thursday said CEO Oscar Munoz will turn over day-to-day management of the airline next spring to President Scott Kirby, who will become company's chief executive officer.

2. OPEC and its allies meet to consider oil production cuts

The logo of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at the headquarters.
Omar Marques | LightRocket | Getty Images

OPEC and its international oil-producing allies meet in Vienna on Thursday and Friday, with expectations increasing for further output cuts. The 14 members of the OPEC cartel and a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia are expected to at least keep production cuts at the current level of 1.2 million barrels per day through June. In another key development, Saudi Aramco is expected to price its shares for an initial public offering as early as Thursday, at as much as a $1.7 trillion valuation. The long-awaited IPO of the world's largest company will list locally on the Tadawul, Saudi Arabia's stock exchange.

3. China reiterates demand for tariff rollbacks as part of any trade deal with US

Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng speaks at a press conference in Beijing, days ahead of an imminent US-China trade war, on July 5, 2018.
Greg Baker | AFP | Getty Images

China's official spokespeople are keeping quiet on trade talks with the U.S., as uncertainty intensifies on when or even if a "phase-one" agreement can be reached. "China believes if both sides reach a phase-one agreement, relevant tariffs must be lowered," Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said Thursday, reiterating Beijing's position over the last few weeks. Gao noted that both trade delegations remain in communication, but he did not provide a direct response when asked about China's view on additional U.S. tariffs, which are set to take effect Dec. 15. On the USMCA, the trade deal under consideration in Congress to replace NAFTA, The Wall Street Journal reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing to remove legal protections for online content in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

4. The House's Trump impeachment inquiry is barreling toward a conclusion

Speaker Pelosi is expected to deliver an update on the status of the House impeachment inquiry at 9 a.m. ET, according to NBC News.

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first, and possibly its last, public hearing as part of the investigation into whether President Donald Trump abused the power of his office in trying to get Ukraine to probe Democratic rival Joe Biden. Four legal scholars were brought before the committee to put Trump's actions in historical context and to help Democratic lawmakers determine which articles of impeachment, if any, to draft. Even if he were impeached in the House, which looks likely, the president would be unlikely to be removed from office in a trial in the GOP-controlled Senate.

5. Citi increases its Apple stock price target by 20%, citing wearables potential

The watch is light and thin enough to be comfortable all day, like earlier models.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Citi is upping its price target on Apple by 20% to $300 per share. In a note to clients, Citi wrote, "We believe consensus is underappreciating the Apple Watch and Apple AirPods demand strength and Apple's wearables segment likely to surpass $10 billion of quarterly sales this quarter." Citi also predicted, "We are modeling sales for the December quarter of $89.5b which is above consensus of $87.9b and at the high end of Apple's guidance for $85.5-89.5b." Shares closed Wednesday at nearly $262, just below this week's all-time high of more than $268 per share. Apple's stock market value is approaching $1.2 trillion.