GDP, Amazon and Coca-Cola earnings: 3 things to watch for in the markets on Thursday


Here are the most important things to know about Thursday before you hit the door.

1. Fourth quarter GDP growth reading

We'll find out how much the U.S. economy grew last quarter and last year on Thursday with the release of gross domestic product data. The GDP represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced in a period of time. Essentially, it's everything produced by people and companies, including salaries of workers.

The year started out with a sizzling 3.1% GDP rate but that growth was weighed down by uncertainty surrounding the U.S.-China trade war that plagued 2019.

Fourth-quarter and full year 2019 GDP will be released by the Commerce Department at 8:30 a.m. Economist polled by Dow Jones are expecting fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.1%, the same as the third quarter. But forecasts for fourth-quarter GDP growth range from 1.4% and 2.5% annually, which could cause some volatility in the markets around the official reading.

Real GDP increased 2.9% in 2018.

2. Amazon reports

E-commerce giant Amazon reports fourth quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday. Analysts polled by FactSet are expecting Amazon to report earnings per share of $4.04 on revenue of $86.0 billion. Amazon reported earnings per share of $6.04 on revenue of $72.4 billion in the same period a year earlier. Stifel said Amazon's heavy investments in one-day shipping and Amazon Web Services limit near-term profitability for the company.

"We expect the investment cycle to continue through 2020 as Amazon expands logistics capacity and one-day shipping capabilities while spending more on AWS sales and marketing initiatives and product innovation," Stifel internet analyst Scott Devitt wrote in a note to clients.

The firm also said the fourth quarter includes Amazon's strong holiday sales season, citing billions of items order, record sales of Amazon devices and more than 5 million new Prime members.

Shares of Amazon are up about 5% in the past three months.

3. Coke earnings

Coca-Cola reports fourth quarter earnings before the bell on Thursday. Analysts polled by FactSet are expecting earnings per share of 44 cents on revenue of $8.883 billion. Coca-Cola reported earnings of 43 cents per share on revenue of $7.1 billion in same period a year prior.

Barclays said Coca-Cola has the potential to be the breakout story among consumer staples names this year, as the market saw with Procter & Gamble last year. Consumer staple stocks are less tied to the economic cycle, durable in times of uncertainty.

Barclays equity analyst Lauren Lieberman said the firm expects North American sales growth to accelerate after last year's price increases weighed on sales.

Shares of Coca-Cola are up about 7% in the past three months.

Major events (all times ET):

8:30 a.m. Jobless claims

8:30 a.m. Q4 GDP

8:30 a.m. GDP prices

10:00 a.m. Housing vacancies

Major earnings:

Coca-Cola (before the bell)

Altria (before the bell)

Eli Lilly (before the bell)

Biogen (before the bell)

Verizon (before the bell)

Truist Financial (before the bell)

Northrop Grumman (before the bell)

Raytheon (before the bell)

UPS (before the bell)

Blackstone (before the bell)

Amazon (after the bell)

Electronic Arts (after the bell)

Amgen (after the bell)

Visa (after the bell)

Hawaiian Holdings (after the bell)

— With reporting from CNBC's Michael Bloom and Patti Domm.