5 Things to Know

5 things to know before the stock market opens Wednesday

1. Wall Street set for a mixed open after more records

S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were pointing to gains at Wednesday's open, one day after both indexes closed at records again. Dow futures were pointing to an opening loss following Tuesday's modest decline. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are closing the gap on the Dow Jones Industrial Average in terms of August performance, with the S&P 500 up 5.3%, the Nasdaq up 6.7% and the Dow up 6.9% for the month.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 0.4% last week from the previous week but were a remarkable 33% higher than the same week a year ago. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's index, refinancing demand fell 10% last week but was up 34% annually. Also Wednesday morning, the government said that July durable goods orders jumped 11.2%, far exceeding estimates of 4.3%. That's compares to a 7.7% increase in June.

2. Shares of Salesforce, Urban Outfitters surge on earnings

Marc Benioff, chairman and chief executive officer of Salesforce.com speaks during the grand opening ceremonies for the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco on May 22, 2018.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Newly announced Dow-30 stock Salesforce was surging 13% in Wednesday's premarket, the morning after the business software company more than doubled estimates with adjusted second-quarter earnings of $1.44 per share. Revenue rose 29% to $5.15 billion, which also exceeded forecasts. Salesforce raised full-year guidance, crediting increases in work-from-home and e-commerce during the coronavirus pandemic. Salesforce replaces Exxon Mobil in the Dow industrials on Monday.

Urban Outfitters shares were jumping about 16% in the premarket after the apparel retailer late Tuesday surprised analysts expecting a loss by reporting an adjusted second-quarter profit of 35 cents per share. The company behind the Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People benefited from an increase in digital sales. However, total revenue of $803 million dropped 16.5% for the quarter.

Shares of Dick's Sporting Goods were rising about 11% in the premarket after the company reported remarkable second-quarter earnings and sales growth Wednesday morning. Digital sales surged 194% as consumers flocked to the Dick's website for hiking gear, kayaks, weights and workout clothes to stay busy during the coronavirus crisis.

3. Pence highlights GOP convention on Day 3

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention, in Charlotte, North Carolina, August 24, 2020.
Chris Carlson | Pool via Reuters

Vice President Mike Pence delivers the marquee speech Wednesday night, on the third day of the Republican National Convention, making the case for another four years for President Donald Trump and laying the foundation for his own potential White House run in 2024. On Day 2, first lady Melania Trump, speaking in the newly renovated White House Rose Garden, offered condolences for those who died or are struggling from the coronavirus.

According to a new CNBC/Change Research poll, conducted before the GOP convention, serious concerns about the coronavirus dropped in six 2020 swing states, while approval of the president's handling of the crisis rose. Despite the shifts, Trump still trailed Democrat Joe Biden in the poll in battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Likely voters narrowly said that Biden would do a better job handling the pandemic.

4. CDC changes guidelines; U.S. cases trend lower

People volunteer for Covid-19 surveillance testing using the Quest Diagnostics self administered PCR test on on July 12, 2020 in Livingston, Montana.
William Campbell | Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has modified its guidelines for Covid-19 testing. The CDC site changed Monday, now saying, "If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms ... you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one."

Epidemiologists credit a more unified national health message for the downward trend in new daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. They also said that keeping some businesses closed helped slow the outbreak. Daily new cases, which peaked on July 16 at over 77,000, were around 38,000 on Tuesday.

Three reported cases of Covid-19 reinfections look like "outliers" compared with the millions who have been infected, a World Health Organization official said Wednesday. Two patients in Europe and one in Hong Kong were confirmed to have been reinfected with a different strain of the virus, according to Reuters.

5. Hurricane Laura expected to become Category 4

Tropical Storm Laura passes over Cuba on Aug. 24th, 2020.
NOAA

The National Hurricane Center expects rapidly intensifying Hurricane Laura to become a catastrophic Category 4 storm, bringing life threatening storm surge, extreme winds and flash flooding over eastern Texas and Louisiana later Wednesday. "Satellite data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 110 mph," according to the latest NHC update. Through Friday, rainfall totals from Laura are expected in a range of 5 to 10 inches. Much of the U.S. energy operations along the Gulf Coast has been shut down, with nearly 300 oil platforms evacuated.

— 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.