Morning Brief

What to watch today: Wall Street set to start another mixed session



Dow and S&P 500 futures rose but Nasdaq futures dipped slightly Thursday, a day after a mixed session left all three stock benchmarks less than 1% from their record highs. Shortly after Wednesday's market close, the House impeached President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol last week. Premarket stock reaction was relatively muted because the House vote was widely expected. (CNBC)

* BlackRock's Fink sees stocks rallying in 2021 but not as much as last year (CNBC)

Shares of BlackRock (BLK) were higher by more than 1% in Thursday's premarket after the world's biggest money manager reported better-than-expected profits and revenue in the fourth quarter. BlackRock's assets under management surged to a record $8.68 trillion at the conclusion of the quarter. (Reuters)

Delta Air Lines (DAL) cut in half its cash burn and narrowed its losses in the fourth quarter as the coronavirus pandemic drove the carrier to its worst year ever. Shares in the premarket rose more than 1%. The airline hopes for a recovery in 2021 as Covid-19 vaccines are more widely administered. (CNBC)

Investors were also focusing on the Labor Department's much larger than expected weekly initial jobless claims report. New filings for unemployment benefits last week surged to 965,000, the highest weekly total since August as Covid spikes led to more virus mitigation restrictions. Economists had been calling for a smaller rise to 800,000 in new claims. (CNBC)

Two initial public offering are debuting on the Nasdaq on Thursday. Petco priced its IPO at $18 per share, above the expected range, valuing the pet products retailer at nearly $4 billion. Poshmark priced its IPO at $42 per share, above the expected range. The offering gives the online secondhand goods seller an initial valuation of more than $3 billion. (Reuters)

GameStop (GME) was jumping once again after surging the past three days in what some analysts are calling a short squeeze. The video game retailer's stock was up more than 57% in Wednesday's session alone. The stock was up 21% in Thursday's premarket trading. (CNBC)


Ten Republicans joined all of the House Democrats in a 232-197 vote to impeach Trump. GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell, majority leader until Georgia certifies the Democrats' two runoff election wins, said the Senate won't start Trump's trial until Tuesday, the day before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. (CNBC)

* Expecting trouble, Washington locks down a week before inauguration (AP)
* Biden forgoing Amtrak trip to Washington inauguration due to security concerns (AP)
* Delta won’t allow DC-bound passengers to check guns ahead of inauguration (CNBC)

In a video released Wednesday, Trump sent his clearest condemnation yet of last week's Capitol riot. However, he took no responsibility and made no mention of impeachment. The message comes as federal authorities and the attorney general of the District of Columbia have not ruled out prosecuting Trump for inciting the mob. (CNBC)

Twitter (TWTR) CEO Jack Dorsey, in a series of tweets, said that banning Trump was the "right decision for Twitter," but admitted that the internet shouldn't be controlled by only a handful of companies. Dorsey said the internet in general should be open and making decisions like this "sets a precedent I feel is dangerous." (CNBC)

* Snapchat will terminate Trump's account on Jan. 20 (CNBC)

Biden is expected to unveil Thursday a coronavirus action plan, centering on a mass vaccination program and closer coordination among all levels of government. The Biden plan comes as the U.S. battles another surge in Covid cases and deaths. (AP)

Mainland China on Thursday reported its first Covid death since May as authorities try to control a spike in cases just outside of Beijing. The flare-up unfolds as a WHO team arrives in Wuhan, where the coronavirus was discovered in late 2019, to investigate the origins of the virus alongside Chinese scientists. (CNBC)

Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) one-dose Covid vaccine is safe and appears to generate a promising immune response in young and elderly volunteers, according to trial data published in the New England Journal of Medicine. J&J is expected to release results from its large phase three trial later this month. (CNBC)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked Tesla (TSLA) to recall 158,716 of its Model S and Model X vehicles manufactured before 2019, after owners complained of touchscreen glitches that led to the loss of several safety-related features. (CNBC)

Taco Bell wants to bring back its vegetarian customers. The Yum Brands (YUM) chain is resurrecting its popular potatoes and will test a menu item with a Beyond Meat (BYND) substitute after last year's menu cuts disappointed its meat-free customer base. (CNBC)


PayPal (PYPL): PayPal became the first foreign firm in China with total ownership of a payments platform, after buying the 30% it didn't already own of China's GoPay. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Amazon (AMZN): The e-commerce giant's digital books business is the subject of a probe by the state of Connecticut for possible anti-competitive behavior. Attorney General William Tong said the investigation centers on Amazon's e-book distribution agreements with publishers.

Nordstrom (JWN): The retailer said holiday season sales were down about 22% from a year earlier, with digital sales representing 54% of its total. The department store operator also said sales at its Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores improved sequentially in December from November.

Ethan Allen (ETH): The furniture retailer said it expected to report fiscal second-quarter earnings of 67 to 69 cents per share, compared to a consensus estimate of 46 cents a share. Ethan Allen said its e-commerce business jumped 44.9% during the quarter, helping lead to a record high order backlog.

Signet Jewelers (SIG): The jewelry retailer's shares are higher in premarket trading after said it expects fourth-quarter sales to fall slightly for the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier, coming in between $2.1 billion and $2.12 billion. That would still be above Wall Street forecasts.


Nobody matched all six numbers in last night's $550 million Powerball drawing, pushing the jackpot to a projected $640 million for Saturday night. For tomorrow night's drawing, the Mega Millions top prize swelled to $750 million. (USA Today)