BY THE NUMBERS
The Dow was set to rise at Friday's open after the government's monthly employment report and after the 30-stock average finished within 77 points of its late-November record closing high. The U.S. economy added a fewer-than-expected 245,000 nonfarm jobs last month, the slowest pace of growth since April's record job losses of 20.5 million. However, the nation's unemployment rate in November dropped to 6.7% from 6.9%, as expected. (CNBC)
Thursday's stock rally faded in the last hour of trading after The Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer (PFE) cut its Covid-19 vaccine rollout target because of supply problems. The Nasdaq hit an all-time intraday high. While also pulling back late in the session, the index did manage to also close at a record. The S&P 500, after hitting an all-time intraday high Thursday, closed slightly lower. The index closed at a record on Tuesday and Wednesday. (CNBC)
* Pandemic-induced options trading craze shows no signs of slowing down (CNBC)
IN THE NEWS TODAY
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have resumed Covid-19 stimulus negotiations in an attempt to break a monthslong logjam. McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday he sees "hopeful signs" for reaching a relief agreement before the end of the year. Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Wednesday backed a bipartisan $908 billion stimulus package, while McConnell released his own roughly $500 billion plan. (CNBC)
* Stimulus relief could include a break for school expenses (CNBC)
* Biden endorses the latest bipartisan Covid stimulus deal, says it 'a good start' (CNBC)
* Biden says he'll ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days (NY Times)
The U.S. on Thursday logged a second record day of coronavirus deaths over 2,800 and the worst-single day of new cases of 217,664. The seven-day average of new daily cases of 179,473 was also a record. As of Thursday, 100,667 people were hospitalized with Covid-19, the most of the pandemic. (JHU & Covid Tracking Project)
California announced a limited stay-at-home order for certain regions of the state where infections strained intensive care units. The three-week order requires bars, wineries, personal services, hair salons and barbershops to temporarily close, while it allows some schools and critical infrastructure to remain open. Retail stores can operate at 20% capacity and restaurants can offer take-out and delivery. (CNBC)
* Uber asks CDC to consider its drivers essential for vaccine distribution (Reuters)
* Kroger prepared to begin Covid vaccinations at its pharmacies, CEO says (CNBC)
White House communications director Alyssa Farah is resigning, a sign of acknowledgement among Trump administration officials, if not President Donald Trump himself, that Joe Biden's incoming administration will soon take charge. (CNBC)
* Trump, RNC raised $207.5 million after Election Day (WSJ)
* Trump administration claims Facebook improperly reserved jobs for H-1B workers (WSJ)
* U.S. in talks with Huawei CFO on deal to send her back to China if she admits to wrongdoing (WSJ)
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar refused to say whether his decision to release all 17 of next year's Warner Bros. films directly on HBO Max at the same time they hit theaters will last beyond 2021. Movies theater stocks cratered on the news Thursday, but they're getting a small bounce Friday. (CNBC)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Ollie's Bargain Outlet (OLLI): Shares of the retailer slid more than 11% following commentary around a slowdown in the company's fourth-quarter trends. "Quarter-to-date, our comparable-store sales increases are tracking in the low single-digits," CEO John Swygert said in a statement. Goldman Sachs downgraded the company to a "neutral" rating. The company did, however, beat top and bottom line estimates during the period.
Marvell Technology (MRVL): Shares of the semiconductor company slid more than 5% following Marvell's third-quarter earnings results. The company earned 25 cents per share, which was in line with Street estimates compiled by FactSet. The company's revenue of $750.1 million was just shy of the expected $751 million. Storage sales, however, slipped quarter-over-quarter, and the company's fourth-quarter guidance disappointed the Street.
Carvana (CVNA): Shares of the online car retailer advanced more than 2% after Jefferies initiated coverage on the stock with a "buy" rating. In a note to clients titled "A Shiny New Model That's Speeding Past Competition," the firm said Carvana operates in a "massive addressable market ripe for disruption." Jefferies has a $300 target on the stock, which is about 32% above where shares closed on Thursday.
Dish Network (DISH): Shares of the television provider slid 1% following a downgrade to "neutral" by Guggenheim. The firm also removed Dish from its best ideas list. "While we had hoped asset value would have been realized through either a sale of spectrum, or a partnership with a deep-pocketed tech firm, those scenarios are seemingly becoming much less likely," the firm said in a note to clients.
Stitch Fix (SFIX): Shares of the clothing subscription service company slid more than 2% after MKM Partners downgraded the stock to "sell" from "neutral." The firm noted that recent social media checks point to a lack of inventory and delayed shipments, among other things. Wells Fargo downgraded the company to an "underweight" rating on Thursday.
Yext (YEXT): Shares of the search technology company dipped more than 10% after Yext gave weaker-than-expected guidance for the current quarter. The company said it expects revenue to be between $87 million and $89 million for the fourth quarter, compared to the $94.3 million expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. The company did, however, beat top and bottom line estimates during the third quarter.
Ulta Beauty (ULTA): Shares of the beauty retailer slid more than 4% after the company said same-store sales fell 8.9% during the third quarter. The company earned $1.64 per share during the quarter, which was ahead of the $1.49 expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. Revenue of $1.55 billion was slightly shy of the expected $1.56 billion. "We see more downside than upside for ULTA shares at current levels and maintain our hold rating," research firm Stifel said following the results.