5 Things to Know

5 things to know before the stock market opens Wednesday


1. S&P 500 to add to Tuesday's record close

U.S. stock futures were higher as Target and Lowe's reported blowout earnings Wednesday morning, one day after Walmart and Home Depot did the same. The S&P 500 was pacing to add to Tuesday's record close, which wiped out all the coronavirus stock market losses.

It was the shortest bear market ever. The index on Tuesday also hit an all-time intraday high. The previous records were on Feb. 19 before Wall Street tanked to coronavirus lows on March 23. Ahead of Wednesday's trading, the S&P 500 was up nearly 55% since then. The Nasdaq hit another record high Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell Tuesday and remains about 6% away from its February record high.

2. Target, Lowe's deliver strong earnings

Shares of Target jumped 8% in the premarket after the retailer blew past every forecast on Wall Street for the second quarter as it attracted millions of new customers online during the coronavirus pandemic and set a record for same-store sales that drove earnings up by 80% to $1.7 billion. Target's total revenue rose nearly 25% to $23 billion. Adjusted profit came in at $3.38 per share. The company said it was able to keep up the momentum in August. Target CEO Brian Cornell on CNBC attributed the company's stunning quarterly performance to increased retail spending by consumers who had more money in their pockets while cutting back on vacations and other summer activities.

Full interview with Target CEO Brian Cornell on blowout second quarter

Shares of Lowe's rose about 2% in the premarket after the company reported second-quarter revenue had surged 30% to $27.3 billion. Adjusted per-share earnings of $3.75 also beat estimates as consumers spent more on home improvement projects while stuck in the house during the coronavirus crisis. Net earnings of $2.83 billion was up more than 68% from last year's second quarter.

3. Democratic National Convention: Day 3

Former President Barack Obama and Sen. Kamala Harris to speak on Day 3 of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Getty Images | Reuters

The third day of the virtual Democratic National Convention features Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama as well as Sen. Kamala Harris accepting the VP nomination. Former presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also speak. On Tuesday night, former President Bill Clinton and Jill Biden argued for electing Joe Biden instead President Donald Trump. The party also formally nominated Biden for president. On Thursday night, Biden officially accepts the nomination, makes his case for his candidacy, and closes out the convention.

4. Pharma deals from J&J, Regeneron

Shares of Momenta Pharmaceuticals surged 70% in the premarket after Johnson & Johnson said it agreed to buy the biotech company for about $6.5 billion in cash. The deal gives J&J's Janssen unit access to Momenta's experimental therapy to treat a neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in muscles. J&J shares were basically flat after the announcement.

Momenta Pharmaceuticals

U.S.-based Regeneron and Swiss drugmaker Roche are teaming up on an investigational antibody cocktail against Covid-19. If the drug were to get regulatory approval, Regeneron will sell it in America and Roche will sell it elsewhere. The stocks were higher on Wednesday's news.

5. More colleges move to online instruction

Michigan State University is going online for the fall, encouraging students to stay home as schools across the nation struggled to control coronavirus outbreaks. The University of Notre Dame also said Tuesday it will move undergraduate instruction online for two weeks. Ithaca College also moved online. Cornell University, also located in the city of Ithaca, New York, has no plans to follow suit. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said Monday it will switch to remote learning starting Wednesday.

— Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real-time with CNBC's live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.