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What to Watch Today: Dow Futures Rise After Fed Keeps Rates Near Zero

BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures rose Thursday, one day after the 30-stock average and the S&P 500 dipped slightly and the Nasdaq rose modestly. All three benchmarks finished less than 1% away from Monday's record closes after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at his post-meeting news conference that substantial economic improvement would be needed for the central bank to start dialing back its easy-money policies. (CNBC)

In the latest snapshot of the economic recovery from the Covid pandemic, the Commerce Department said Thursday morning that its first look at second-quarter gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 6.5%, a big miss compared to estimates for 8.4% growth. (CNBC)

The Labor Department also reported before the opening bell on Wall Street that initial jobless claims came in at 400,000 last week, slightly worse than expectations. The previous week's level was revised up to 424,000. Initial claims for the week ended July 10 of 368,000 matched last month's Covid-era low. (Press Release)

Dow stock Merck (MRK) fell in the premarket after the drugmarker matched estimates with quarterly earnings and topped expectations on revenue. Amazon reports earnings after the bell Thursday. (CNBC)

Robinhood (HOOD), whose stock trading app surged in popularity among retail investors, is expected to make its debut on the Nasdaq on Thursday. The initial public offering was priced Wednesday night at the low of the range at $38 each, raising about $2 billion and valuing the firm at about $32 billion. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

The Senate voted to advance a bipartisan infrastructure plan Wednesday evening, a critical step toward Democrats passing their sweeping economic agenda. The plan is set to put $550 billion in new money into transportation, utilities and broadband. (CNBC)

Trevor Milton, founder of Nikola (NKLA), has been charged with three counts of fraud by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan in connection with its investigation into the embattled electric vehicle start-up. Shares of Nikola, which lost more than half their value in the past 12 months, were down 6% in Thursday's premarket trading. (CNBC)

Uber Technologies (UBER) dropped 5.1% in premarket trading after sources told CNBC that Japanese investment giant Softbank is selling a chunk of its stake in Uber to cover losses related to its investment in another ride-hailing company, Didi Global (DIDI). (CNBC)

Didi itself is in the news, denying an earlier Wall Street Journal report that it was considering going private. Didi had been up well over 30% in the premarket before that denial, before trimming that still-large gain to 17.5%. (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) shares fell roughly 3.5% in Thursday's premarket, the morning after the social network said revenue growth will slow during the second half of the year. Facebook cited a change in Apple's (AAPL) privacy policies, which it said will hurt the social network's ability to target ads. (CNBC)

In its second quarter, Facebook reported earnings of $3.61 per share on revenue of $29.08 billion. Both topped estimates. Daily active users and monthly active users each matched expectations.

Facebook will require workers returning to its U.S. offices to be vaccinated, the company said Wednesday. "How we implement this policy will depend on local conditions and regulations," Facebook executive Lori Goler said in a statement. Facebook will create processes for those who can't be vaccinated for medical or other reasons, Goler said, adding the company will continue to evaluate its approach outside the U.S. (CNBC)

* Biden to launch vaccine push for millions of federal workers (AP)

Disney (DIS) has amended the mask policy at its U.S.-based theme parks in the wake of new guidance from health and government officials. Starting Friday, the company will require all guests, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks in indoor locations at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and the Disneyland Resort in California. Children under age 2 are exempt. (CNBC)

Apple will require vaccinated and unvaccinated customers as well as staff members to wear masks in many of its U.S. retail stores starting Thursday, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC's Josh Lipton. Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC the company had pushed back its return-to-work plans for corporate employees from September to October and that it could be delayed again.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Comcast (CMCSA) rose 1.9% in the premarket after reporting adjusted quarterly earnings of 84 cents per share, beating the consensus estimate of 67 cents. The parent company of NBCUniversal, of which CNBC is a part of, also reported better-than-expected revenue, helped by a rebound in ad sales and a reopening of theme parks.

Ford (F) surprised analysts with an adjusted quarterly profit of 13 cents per share. The automaker had been expected to report a second-quarter loss of 3 cents per share, due in large part to a chip shortage crimping production. However, Ford said it expected that situation to improve in the second half, and it raised its full-year outlook. Ford jumped 4% in the premarket.

Yum Brands (YUM), the parent of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, came in 20 cents ahead of estimates with adjusted quarterly earnings of 1.16 per share, and revenue also beating analyst projections. Results got a boost from restaurant reopenings as well as continued strong demand in online orders. Yum rallied 2.3% in premarket trading.

Molson Coors (TAP) added 1.8% in the premarket after its adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.58 per share beat the consensus estimate of $1.34. The beer brewer's revenue was above Wall Street forecasts as well.

PayPal (PYPL) beat estimates by 3 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.15 per share, with the payment service's revenue essentially in line with analyst projections. However, shares came under pressure after it gave a lower-than-expected outlook, as former PayPal parent eBay (EBAY) continues its transition to its own payment platform. The stock slid 5.6% in premarket trading.

Qualcomm (QCOM) reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.92 per share, beating the $1.68 consensus estimate, with the chip maker's revenue also exceeding Street forecasts. Qualcomm also gave an upbeat forecast as it expects supply chain disruptions to ease. Qualcomm added 3.2% in the premarket.

Northrup Grumman (NOC) reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $6.42 per share, beating the $5.84 consensus estimate, with revenue also topping estimates. The defense contractor was helped by continued strength in its satellite and missile-making units, and the stock rose 1.1% in premarket trading.

iRobot (IRBT) shares plunged 11.5% in premarket trading after it reported a second-quarter loss and cut its full-year outlook. The maker of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner said the worldwide chip shortage would continue to hurt its ability to fulfill orders during the second half of the year.

Tempur Sealy (TPX) earned an adjusted 79 cents per share for its latest quarter, 22 cents above estimates, with revenue topping forecasts as well. The mattress maker also raised its full-year outlook, and the stock jumped 4.9% in premarket action.

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