BY THE NUMBERS
Dow futures rose Thursday, one day after the 30-stock average and the S&P 500 broke four-session losing streaks. The Nasdaq rose for the second straight day. All three stock benchmarks added 1% as investors looked past the troubles at Chinese property giant China Evergrande Group and took comfort in signaling from the Fed that it had no immediate intentions of removing U.S. monetary stimulus policies. (CNBC)
Wednesday's gains put a dent in Monday's plunge and the slide in September, which historically has been a rough month on Wall Street. The Dow was off nearly 4% from last month's record close. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were off about 3% from their latest record closes earlier this month. (CNBC)
* Cramer says two of his biggest worries about the market are now off the table (CNBC)
The U.S. government's weekly look at initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose to 351,000. Economists had expected a decline in new claims for week ended Sept. 18 to near Covid pandemic lows of 320,000. The prior week was revised higher to 335,000. (CNBC)
After its two-day September meeting, the Fed on Wednesday provided its quarterly economic projections. Officials see the nation's unemployment rate falling to 4.8% this year from the current 5.2%. The June estimate was for a year-end rate of 4.5%. (CNBC)
The Fed's forecasts also decreased numbers for U.S. growth and increased inflation expectations. Against that backdrop, the Fed left near-zero interest rates unchanged Wednesday afternoon. But most members now see the first interest rate increase in 2022. The Fed gave no timetable for tapering its bond purchases. (CNBC)
IN THE NEWS TODAY
Chinese authorities have told local officials to prepare for a potential collapse of heavily indebted Evergrande, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Local officials described the signals from Chinese authorities as "getting ready for the possible storm" and said the government told them they should step in only at the last minute to prevent spillover effectse, according to the Journal.
Investors are bracing for an imminent report from SEC Chair Gary Gensler on the GameStop, Robinhood and Reddit saga, as well as his recommendations on what, if any, changes should be made in the U.S. trading system. Gensler has told Congress his staff has been looking into both issues and promised a report by the end of summer. (CNBC)
The CDC may vote Thursday on the FDA's decision to authorize a Pfizer Covid booster shot for people 65 and older as well as other vulnerable Americans six months after they complete their first two doses. If the CDC approves, booster shots for those groups could begin immediately. But that would not go as far as the Biden administration's push to offer boosters to the general public as early as this week. (CNBC)
* Pfizer booster shouldn't be for Moderna, J&J vaccine Recipients, says FDA official (WSJ)
* Average daily U.S. Covid deaths climb above 2,000 for the first time since March (CNBC)
The Environmental Protection Agency is sharply curbing the use and production of hydrofluorocarbons, the climate-warming chemicals widely used in air-conditioning and refrigeration. The move is the Biden administration's first major regulatory action to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions. (CNBC)
* Biden’s meetings with divided Dems ‘productive,’ but more work remains (CNBC)
Republican former President George W. Bush will appear as a special guest at an upcoming fundraiser for Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., whose unwavering criticism of former President Donald Trump has sparked a vicious backlash within her own party. Cheney was eventually stripped of her role as the No. 3-ranking House Republican. (CNBC)
In the continuing trial of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes on fraud charges, former U.S. Defense Secretary General James Mattis testified Wednesday that as a board member at the company he was "frankly amazed" at what was possible at first but later became disillusioned. Mattis, a retired four-star general, served on Theranos' board from 2013 until December 2016. (CNBC)
* Holmes’ texts reveal she described herself as ‘best business person of the year’ (CNBC)
The National Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing next Wednesday to review charges that Amazon (AMZN) illegally retaliated against two of its most outspoken internal critics when it fired them last year, according to a filing. The NLRB in April found merit to the workers' complaint that Amazon engaged in unfair labor practices. (CNBC)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Darden Restaurants (DRI), the Olive Garden parent, reported earnings of $1.76 per share, higher than the $1.64-per-share forecast. The restaurant company also reported same-store sales that rose 47.5%, topping estimates. Shares rose 3% in premarket trading.
BlackBerry (BB) reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, with an adjusted gross margin of 65%. BlackBerry reported a loss of 6 cents per share, compared with the expected loss of 7 cents per share, according to Refinitiv. Revenue came in at $175 million, topping estimates of $164 million. Shares rose more than 7% premarket.
Salesforce (CRM) raised its full-year 2022 revenue guidance to between $26.25 billion and $26.35 billion. This is higher than the company's previous estimate of revenue between $26.2 billion and $26.3 billion. Analysts expected $26.31 billion. Shares rose 2% in premarket trading.
KB Home (KBH) rose in premarket trading despite missing top and bottom-line estimates. KB Home reported quarterly earnings of $1.60 on revenue of $1.47 billion. Wall Street expected earnings of $1.62 per share on revenue of $1.57 billion, according to Refinitiv.
Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of air taxi start-up Joby Aviation (JOBY) with an overweight rating, saying in a note to clients Thursday that investors should take a look at a stock with major potential upside. Joby popped more than 5% in extended trading.
Biogen (BIIB) rose in premarket trading after Needham initiated coverage of the stock with a buy rating, saying in a note to clients on Wednesday that the company's controversial Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm will be a big seller for the company long term.
Roku (ROKU) rose 2% in premarket trading after Guggenheim upgraded the stocks to buy from neutral. The Wall Street firm assigned Roku a 12-month price target of $395, implying a 22% one-year return.
SoFi (SOFI) rose in premarket trading after gaining 11% during the regular session on Wednesday. Sofi is the sixth most-mentioned stock on Reddit's WallStreetBets, according to quiver quant.
Accenture (ACN) rose in extended trading after reporting better-than-expected earnings. The company also increased its dividend and buyback authorization.