Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Dow set to open lower ahead of Day 2 of Powell's testimony
Dow futures dropped 150 points Thursday, one day after the S&P 500 hit an all-time high but failed to close at a record. In a muted session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished slightly higher and the Nasdaq ended slightly lower. Both benchmarks were less than 1% from their record closes on Monday. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is set to deliver his semiannual economic testimony to the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. He told the House Committee on Financial Committee on Wednesday that the Fed is still a ways off from altering monetary policy. He also said he expects inflation to moderate even as the latest readings this week on consumer prices and wholesale prices surged.
2. Bond yields lower after weekly jobless claims figures
Bond yields fell on Powell's dovish message Wednesday. The 10-year Treasury yield continued to drop Thursday to around 1.32%. The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims for last week came in as expected at 360,000 — a new Covid-era low. First-time claims, which rose unexpectedly for the week ended July 3, were upwardly revised. All that data came after the government's June employment report, which showed the U.S. economy generated a better-than-expected 850,000 nonfarm jobs.
3. Morgan Stanley becomes latest bank to beat quarterly estimates
Shares of Morgan Stanley dropped 1.2% in the premarket after the bank reported Thursday morning better-than-expected earnings and revenue in the second quarter on strength in equities trading and investment banking. Earlier this week, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup beat analyst profit expectations by releasing money set aside earlier for loan losses. Goldman Sachs beat estimates on strong advisory results.
UnitedHealth on Thursday morning reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations. In the second quarter, the largest U.S. health insurer reported a medical loss ratio — the percentage of collected premiums spent on services — of nearly 83%. That compared with 70% a year earlier, when patients put off nonurgent care due to the pandemic. UnitedHealth also raised its full-year earnings target. The Dow stock fell 0.4% in premarket trading.
4. Volatile meme stocks AMC, GameStop take major hits
Shares of AMC Entertainment dropped another 6% in Thursday's premarket, indicating a fifth straight session of losses, one day after dropping 15%. The volatile meme stock has lost 30% over the past four down sessions. As of Wednesday's close, AMC shares have lost more than half their value after hitting an all-time of $72.62 on June 2.
GameStop, the original meme stock, has fallen more than 21% this month, and it continued to drop in the premarket as the reality of bubble-like rallies and failing businesses started to become apparent for Reddit-obsessed investors. However, for 2021, AMC was still up more than 1,450% and GameStop was up nearly 800%.
5. GM warns some Bolt EV owners not to park inside, charge unattended
General Motors is telling owners of 2017-2019 Bolt EVs that were part of a recent recall not to park their vehicles inside or charge them unattended overnight. The warning comes after two Bolt EVs caught fire. Those vehicles had been repaired as part of a recall of nearly 69,000, which were flagged for fire risks. The recall was initially announced in November by GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. One of the Bolt EV fires occurred while the vehicle was charging at the home of a Vermont state lawmaker earlier this month. The other fire happened in New Jersey.
— Reuters contributed to this report. Follow all the market action like a pro on CNBC Pro. Get the latest on the pandemic with CNBC's coronavirus coverage.