BY THE NUMBERS
Stock futures are pointing to a lower open in what's already been the worst week for stocks in more than 6 months. Dow futures implied an opening decline of more than 130 points. Futures for the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq were also in the red. (CNBC)
The Dow fell 1.99% for its worst day since Jan. 29 on Wednesday, as investors digested the hotter-than-expected reading on consumer prices in April. The S&P 500 dropped 2.1%, its biggest decline since Feb. 25, while the Nasdaq's 2.6% backslide was its most sizable since March 18. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are now all at their lowest in more than a month and on pace for their largest weekly losses since the week ending Oct. 30.
A key event for the market today will be the Producer Price Index, which is due out at 8:30 a.m. ET. Consensus forecasts are calling for a 0.3% rise in headline inflation and a 0.4% increase in the ex-food and energy rate. It should be noted that forecasts for yesterday's closely watched Consumer Price Index were off by a considerable margin.
* April's inflation surge wasn't as drastic as it looked, but the real test is still ahead (CNBC)
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Also at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Labor Department will release its weekly report on initial jobless claims, expected to come in at 500,000 for the week ending May 8. That would be up 2,000 from the prior week.
Bitcoin traded sharply lower this morning, down more than 7% to around $50,000 per token, in the wake of Elon Musk's announcement that Tesla (TSLA) stopped, at least temporarily, accepting the cryptocurrency as payment for its products. (CNBC)
Alibaba (BABA), Casper Sleep (CSPR), Canada Goose (GOOS) and Utz Brands (UTZ) are among the handful of companies issuing quarterly earnings reports this morning, while Dow component Walt Disney (DIS) headlines today's short list of after-the-bell reports. Airbnb (ABNB) and DoorDash (DASH) are also scheduled to report after the closing bell.
IN THE NEWS
Colonial Pipeline, the major East Coast fuel pipeline that was shut down after its operator fell victim to a ransomware attack last week, restarted Wednesday evening. However, the pipeline will not be fully functional immediately, the company warned. The announcement came as an increasing number of gas stations in the southeast and mid-Atlantic region were out of gas. (CNBC)
* Biden signs executive order to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity defenses after Colonial Pipeline hack (CNBC)
* GasBuddy tops Apple App store amid gas shortages from Colonial Pipeline shutdown (CNBC)
U.S. kids aged 12 to 15 could receive the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus shot as soon as today, after the Centers for Disease Control and prevention signed off an expanded use of the vaccine Wednesday. "It's one more giant step in our fight against the pandemic," President Joe Biden said in a tweet. Public health experts say vaccinating children against Covid is necessary for the U.S. to achieve herd immunity. (CNBC)
* Mix and match Covid vaccine study finds increased risk of mild to moderate symptoms (CNBC)
Twenty-eight people who received Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Covid vaccine appear to have developed the rare blood clotting issue that's been linked to the shot, according to new research from CDC scientists who investigated the matter. Three of those individuals died. Use of J&J's Covid vaccine has resumed in the U.S. after a brief pause last month while regulators looked into blood-clotting concerns. It was determined that the benefits of using the single-shot vaccine outweighed the risks. (CNBC)
In announcing Tesla's decision to no longer accepting bitcoin as a means of payment for its electric vehicles, CEO Elon Musk cited concerns around fossil fuel usage to mine for the digital token. "Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future," Musk said in a statement Wednesday posted to Twitter. He added the company hopes to accept bitcoin "as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy." Tesla revealed it bought bitcoin in February and initially began accepting it as payment in March. (CNBC)
* NHTSA investigating fatal Tesla crash in Southern California (CNBC)
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled a plan to incentivize the state's residents to get the Covid vaccine: five $1 million prizes for those aged 18 and up, and five full-ride scholarships to public colleges for those aged 12 to 17. The funding is coming from coronavirus relief funds the state received from Washington. It represents the latest promotional effort offered by a state to encourage people to get vaccinated. (The Columbus Dispatch)
U.S. airline operators said they've canceled some flights to Tel Aviv following an escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas. The carriers that have adjusted service are American Airlines (AAL), United Airlines (UAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL). The violence that's broken out in recent days is the most severe since in 2014, when Israel and Hamas fought a 50-day war. The death toll stands at 69 Palestinians, as of Wednesday, according to Gaza's Health Ministry. In Israel, seven people have been killed. (CNBC / Associated Press)
Boeing (BA) scored approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for a repair to an electrical issue that impacted around 100 of its 737 Max airplanes. The regulator's move clears the way for the planes to return to air following a service halt in April. It comes at a critical juncture for U.S. airlines, allowing the Boeing planes to be available to use this summer when more Americans are traveling. (Reuters)
Bill Ackman's hedge fund Pershing Square has built a nearly 6% stake in Domino's Pizza (DPZ), replacing its bet on Starbucks (SBUX). Ackman revealed the moves Wednesday at The Wall Street Journal's Future of Everything Festival, and Domino's shares hit their intraday high following the billionaire investor's comments. Ackman touted Domino's investments in technology and its decision to control delivery, instead of using third-party apps. (CNBC)
WeRide, a Chinese autonomous driving start-up backed by Nissan, is now valued at $3.3 billion after its latest capital raise. The funding will be put toward R&D, as well as commercialization "with the aim of delivering large-scale autonomous mobility in the coming future," WeRide CEO Tony Han said in a statement. In April, the California Department of Motor Vehicles granted WeRide a permit to test its driverless cars in San Jose.
* Alphabet Waymo self-driving unit CFO following CEO out the door (Reuters)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Sonos (SONO) earned an adjusted 12 cents per share for its latest quarter, compared to forecasts of a 22 cents per share loss. The maker of speakers and other audio products also raised full-year sales guidance, saying it believes it can meet demand despite the global chip shortage.
Bumble (BMBL) surprised analysts with an adjusted first-quarter profit, compared to expectations of a quarterly loss, and the dating service operator also saw better-than-expected revenue. Bumble also issued upbeat current quarter revenue guidance, with more people returning to dating as the pandemic recedes.
Vroom (VRM) reported a smaller-than-expected loss for its latest quarter, with the online used-car retailer also seeing revenue beat estimates as demand surges. Consumers are turning to used cars as the global chip shortage crimps production of new vehicles. Vroom rival Shift (SFT) reported similarly upbeat results.
ThredUp (DUP) lost an adjusted 17 cents per share for the first quarter, one cent wider than analysts had been predicting. Revenue did come in ahead of expectations for the secondhand apparel retailer, but it also warned of a potential impact from constrained consumer clothing budgets.
Poshmark (POSH) reported an adjusted first-quarter loss of 33 cents per share, smaller than the 42 cent loss expected by Wall Street analysts. The online retailer of used luxury goods also saw revenue come in above analyst forecasts.
Lowe's (LOW) was upgraded to "outperform" from "perform" at Oppenheimer, which points to the home improvement retailer's discounted valuation compared to that of rival Home Depot (HD).
Jay-Z was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the 23-time Grammy winner's first time on the ballot, as were the Go-Go's and Foo Fighters. Other new inductees include Tina Turner, Carole King and Todd Rundgren. (Associated Press)