5 Things to Know

5 things to know before the stock market opens Friday


1. Dow set to drop on tech weakness, a day after strength in the sector

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Source: New York Stock Exchange.

Dow futures fell about 200 points Friday as two old-guard tech components, Intel and IBM, came under heavy pressure after releasing quarterly results late Thursday. During the regular trading session, tech strength, particularly from Apple, led the Nasdaq to another record high close. The S&P 500 eked out another record close Thursday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed slightly lower after Wednesday's record high close. For the week, the Dow was up nearly 1.2%; the S&P 500 was up more than 2.5%; and the Nasdaq was up over 4%. All three benchmarks have logged strong gains to start of 2021.

Bitcoin tumbled below $30,000 late Thursday as the world's biggest cryptocurrency continued its 2021 slide after quadrupling in value last year. Bitcoin has dropped more than 30% since peaking at an all-time high of $41,940 earlier this month. The latest plunge, which comes without any clear reason, underscores the volatility of a currency that's become popular among day traders. Last year's runup has been attributed in part to increasing institutional interest as well.

2. Intel and IBM tumble after releasing quarterly results

SVP and Director at IBM Research Arvind Krishna speaks on stage during the 2016 Wired Business Conference in New York on June 16, 2016.
Brian Ach | Getty Images

Shares of IBM fell 7% in Friday's premarket, the morning after the company reported disappointing fourth-quarter revenue of $20.37 billion. Software sales declined as pandemic-induced uncertainty kept some customers from striking long-term deals. The company has sought to go bigger in cloud computing and artificial intelligence under new CEO Arvind Krishna. IBM's adjusted quarterly earnings of $2.07 per share did beat estimates.

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks at the company's VMworld conference in San Francisco in 2012.
Kim Kulish | Corbis News | Getty Images

Intel said it released quarterly results earlier than expected, minutes before Thursday's market close, because an infographic got out. Intel shares closed the regular session nearly 6.5% higher after earnings and revenue beat estimates. But after hours, the stock fell about 4% after incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger said on the post-earnings call with analysts that the majority of the chipmaker's 2023 products will be made in house rather than outsourced. Gelsinger, outgoing VMWare CEO, takes over at IBM next month.

3. Biden to sign orders to boost food benefits, minimum wage

President Joe Biden signs an executive order after speaking during an event on his administration's Covid-19 response with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, left, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Friday plans to sign two executive orders to provide stopgap financial relief to millions of Americans while lawmakers begin to consider his massive $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus package. The orders will increase food aid, protect job seekers on unemployment and clear a path for federal workers and contractors to get a $15 hourly minimum wage. Biden has taken several actions during his first days as president to control the virus and offer economic relief. The size and scope of Biden's stimulus package is already facing Republican opposition.

4. Fauci appears at first White House press briefing in months

NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci addresses the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, January 21, 2021.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

New data shows that Covid vaccines may not be as effective in guarding against new, more contagious strains of the virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday in his first White House press briefing in months. Some variants identified in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil appear to be more transmissible but not necessarily more deadly. Fauci also said he feels liberated that he can "let the science speak" under the Biden administration. He added he took "no pleasure" in contradicting some of former President Donald Trump's claims.

5. McConnell proposes February start for Trump impeachment trial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks before the U.S. Senate votes on the confirmation of President Donald Trump?s nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court as they meet in the Senate Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S, October 26, 2020.
Senate TV | Reuters

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is proposing to push back the start of Trump's impeachment trial to February to give the former president time to prepare and review his case. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot have signaled they want to move quickly to trial as Biden begins his term. Chuck Schumer, majority leader of the now Democratic-controlled Senate, is reviewing McConnell's plan.

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