5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday

Health, Fitness & Food

1. Stocks set to pop on strong earnings reports

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

U.S. stock futures rose Thursday after better-than-expected earnings results.

  • Bank of America shares rose as earnings in the first quarter blew past expectations on booming trading and investment banking.
  • Pepsi’s stock gained ground after the consumer snack and drink maker said sales last quarter rose nearly 7%, topping estimates.
  • Shares of UnitedHealth, a Dow component, advanced after results topped estimates, and the health insurer raised guidance for 2021.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 slipped from record levels in volatile trading as tech shares declined. The Nasdaq lost 1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average bucked the trend, posting a modest gain.

2. Covid stimulus checks could really boost retail sales

People shop, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, on 5th Avenue in New York, February 17, 2021.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

March retail sales are expected to rise 6.1%. The numbers are set to be reported by the Commerce Department at 8:30 a.m. ET. Some economists expect much higher sales of 10% or more, based on the economy reopening, the $1,400 Covid stimulus checks sent to individuals and more vaccinations. Sales in February fell 3%. The Labor Department’s weekly look at jobless claims, also out at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show 710,000 new filings last week. The prior week saw a bigger than expected increase to 744,000.

3. BofA tops estimates on strong investment banking

Signage outside a Bank of America branch in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Bank of America’s earnings topped estimates on strong investment banking and trading results, as well as the release of loan loss reserves as fewer consumers were expected to default on loans. Like other banking rivals, BofA saw a large benefit from the improving U.S. economic outlook in recent months.

Citigroup on Thursday posted results that beat analyst estimates for first-quarter profit with strong investment banking revenue and a bigger-than-expected release of loan loss reserves. The firm also said it’s shuttering retail banking operations in 13 countries across Asia and parts of Europe to focus more on wealth management outside the U.S.

4. Coinbase set to jump after strong but volatile debut

Monitors display Coinbase signage during the company’s initial public offering (IPO) at the Nasdaq market site April 14, 2021 in New York City.
Robert Nickelsberg | Getty Images

Coinbase Global shares jumped another 8% in Thursday’s premarket, one day after the cryptocurrency exchange debuted with a nearly $86 billion market value. Nasdaq provided a reference price late Tuesday of $250 per share for Coinbase’s direct listing. In a volatile session, the stock opened at $381 and quickly shot up as high as $429, exceeding a $100 billion market cap. It dropped back below the debut price at one stage and reached a low of around $310. It closed at $328. Coinbase hit the public market as a record amount of cash pours into bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

5. CDC panel delays decision on J&J Covid vaccine pause

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine is stored for use with United Airlines employees at United’s onsite clinic at O’Hare International Airport on March 09, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson | Getty Images

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has decided to postpone a decision on Johnson & Johnson‘s Covid-19 vaccine while it investigates cases of six women developing a rare but severe blood clotting disorder that left one dead and another in critical condition. The panel met on Wednesday, a day after the FDA asked states to temporarily halt using the J&J’s vaccine “out of an abundance of caution.” The panel’s postponement means the pause on J&J’s vaccine remains in effect. The CDC committee voted unanimously to reconvene in a week.

— Follow all the market action like a pro on CNBC Pro. Get the latest on the pandemic with CNBC’s coronavirus blog.

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