PepsiCo and Nvidia earnings, economic data: 3 things to watch for in the markets on Thursday

Jensen Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia, speaks during the Computex Show in Taipei on May 30, 2017.
SAM YEH | AFP | Getty Images

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

1. PepsiCo earnings

PepsiCo is on deck to report earnings before the bell on Thursday. Investor optimism is rising ahead of the results as shares of food and drink conglomerate on Wedneday hit an all-time high going back to Pepsi-Cola's merger with Frito-Lay in 1965 to form PepsiCo.

Analysts are expecting PepsiCo to have earned $1.44 per share in the fourth quarter, slightly down from the $1.49 per share earned in the same quarter a year ago, according to FactSet.

PepsiCo's increased spending on marketing and advertising paid off in the third quarter as brands including Gatorade saw sales growth. Shares of PepsiCo are up nearly 7% in 2020 and they returned 23% last year.

2. Nvidia also reports

Nvidia is scheduled to report earnings after the bell on Thursday. The chipmaker's stock is trading near its record ahead of the earnings, pushing the semiconductor industry to all-time highs.

The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF climbed more than 6% this year, boosted by a 15% jump in Nvidia shares.

Wall Street's forecast for Nvidia's fourth-quarter EPS is $1.67, according to FactSet, an increase from EPS of 92 cents in the same quarter a year prior.

RBC is particularly bullish on Nvidia, hiking its price target to the highest on Wall Street of $301 earlier this week.

"We raise our estimates on NVDA as we think the [January quarter] will come in a bit ahead of the high-end of guide due to better than expected gaming and data center demand," RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves said in a note.

3. Jobless claims, inflation

Investors will also monitor a duo of important economic indicators on Thursday.

Firstly, the Labor Department will release the latest jobless claims number for the week ending Feb.8. The consensus is that 210,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits during the period, according to Dow Jones estimates, after the number dropped to a nine-month low of 202,000 the week before.

The update on the jobless claims will come after a blowout jobs report in January that saw nonfarm payrolls rising 225,000, well above Wall Street estimates.

Secondly, the consumer price index for January will come out at the same time. Economists polled by Dow Jones estimate the gauge increased 0.2% last month, after gaining 0.2% in December. The monthly increase in the CPI has been slowing since jumping 0.4% in October.

Major events (all times ET):

8:30 a.m. Jobless claims

8:30 a.m. Consumer Price Index

Major earnings:

PepsiCo (before the bell)

Kraft Heinz (before the bell)

Roku (after the bell)

Mattel (after the bell)

Nvidia (after the bell)

Expedia (after the bell)

— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed reporting.