Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Dow set for a higher open as Wall Street prepares to close out a rough month
- Fed chief Powell goes back to Capitol Hill after adjusting on inflation
- Deal reached on government funding, but it won't include debt-ceiling action
- Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill faces resistance in House
- Facebook's safety chief is called to testify at a Senate Instagram hearing
Dow futures rose about 100 points, or roughly 0.3%, on Thursday, the final day of September and the third quarter. S&P and Nasdaq futures saw similar percentage gains as rising bond yields took a pause, one day after jumping rates hit tech stocks again. The Nasdaq fell Wednesday for its fourth straight session. However, the S&P 500 was able to break a two-day losing streak, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded from Tuesday's sell-off. All three stock benchmarks were lower for the month.
- For the third quarter, as of Wednesday's close, the S&P 500 was actually up more than 1.4% on pace for its sixth positive quarter in a row, the best run since a nine-quarter streak that ended in the final three months of 2017.
- For the Dow and Nasdaq, Thursday's trading could determine whether they end Q3 in positive or negative territory.
- Looking ahead, October has had sharp sell-offs, but it's typically the start of a better seasonal performance for stocks into the end of the year. All three benchmarks have amassed solid gains in 2021.
Bed Bath & Beyond shares tanked more than 25% in Thursday's premarket trading as the company said it saw a steep drop-off in traffic in August, dealing a blow to its fiscal second-quarter results. The big-box retailer is also dealing with industry-wide supply chain complications, which CEO Mark Tritton said have been "pervasive."
The 10-year Treasury yield dipped Thursday but remained near highs back to June at around 1.52%. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell returns to Capitol Hill, this time to testify before the House Financial Services Committee. On Tuesday, he told the Senate Banking Committee that inflation pressures could last longer than expected. Powell echoed that warning at an ECB event Wednesday.
The Labor Department reported Thursday morning that initial jobless claims increased to 362,000 for the week ending Sept. 25. Economists had been expecting a modest decline. The Commerce Department's third look at second-quarter gross domestic product was revised higher to annual growth rate 6.7%. That was slightly higher than estimates.
The Senate has reached a deal to avoid a government shutdown, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said late Wednesday. The legislation would fund the government into early December and provide money for hurricane relief and Afghan refugee resettlement. But it won't include a debt-ceiling suspension. Congress has to pass a funding bill before midnight to avoid a shutdown.
Lawmakers will now have to separately raise the U.S. debt ceiling before Oct. 18 to prevent a first-ever government default. The House on Wednesday passed a bill that's basically dead on arrival in the Senate because Republicans don't want anything to do with raising the debt ceiling.
The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill faces an uncertain future. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Wednesday she wants it to pass Thursday, but she left room to delay the vote. The package, which passed the Senate last month, is running into opposition from progressive Democrats, who want action first on their party's massive $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill to bolster social safety nets. House Republicans are trying put pressure on Democrats, urging GOP members to vote "no" on the infrastructure bill.
Facebook's head of global safety has been summoned to testify at Thursday's Senate Commerce Committee hearing into Instagram's affects on young users. Political adversaries in Congress are united in their outrage against Facebook for privately compiling information that its Instagram photo-sharing service appears to grievously harm some teens, especially girls, while publicly downplaying the popular platform's negative effects.
- Mounting public pressure over the revelations, reported by The Wall Street Journal, has prompted Facebook to put on hold its work on a kids' version of Instagram.
- Facebook, in a blog post Wednesday, said it "provided Congress with the two full research decks that were the primary focus of the Wall Street Journal's mischaracterization of internal Instagram research into teenagers and well-being."