What to Watch Today: Stocks Set to Rise as Wall Street Looks for Its Best Week Since November



Stock futures are pointing to a higher open on Wall Street, with several major indexes already at record highs and on pace for their biggest weekly gains in three months. Dow futures implied an opening gain of roughly 130 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also were solidly in the green. (CNBC)

* U.S. Treasury yields rise slightly as investors await January jobs report (CNBC)

The S&P 500, tech-heavy Nasdaq and small-cap Russell 2000 all posted record closes Thursday, while the Dow and S&P 500 both advanced 1.1% to extend their winning streaks to four days. They've not risen for as many as five days in a row since August. (CNBC)

Nonfarm payrolls added 49,000 jobs in January, basically in line with economists' forecasts of 50,000. The U.S. unemployment rate declined to 6.3% from 6.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of unemployed Americans fell to 10.1 million as the coronavirus pandemic continues to inhibit economic activity. (CNBC) 

The pace of earnings slows down considerably today, with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN), Estee Lauder (EL) and Cardinal Health (CAH) reporting this morning. No major reports are scheduled after today's closing bell. (CNBC)

* Regeneron quarterly profit beats Wall Street estimates on strong drug sales (Reuters)

Shares of GameStop (GME) were higher in premarket trading after popular brokerage app Robinhood completely removed restrictions on the video-game retailer's stock. Robinhood also scrapped limitations on shares of AMC Entertainment (AMC), another stock ensnared in the retail trading frenzy last week sparked by Reddit users. GameStop shares have tumbled over 85% in the past five trading sessions. AMC shares have plunged 50% in that timespan. (CNBC)

* GameStop mania may not have been the retail trader rebellion it was perceived to be, data shows (CNBC)


The Senate approved a budget resolution after a marathon of votes on a litany of amendments, allowing Congress to continue its quest toward passing a $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote early Friday after the upper chamber was split along party lines 50-50. Democrats can now go forward with using the budget reconciliation process to pass Covid relief, meaning only a simple majority — and no Republican votes — are needed for approval. (CNBC)

* House votes to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of committee assignments (CNBC)

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) applied for emergency use authorization with the Food and Drug Administration for its single-dose coronavirus vaccine. The pharmaceutical giant released clinical trial data last week that showed the vaccine to be 85% effective in preventing severe disease after four weeks. There also were no Covid-related hospitalizations or deaths in the trial after 28 days. The vaccine's overall effectiveness was 66% for preventing moderate to severe disease. J&J's vaccine could be the third to receive limited clearance from the FDA and experts believe it would help accelerate the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. (CNBC)

The U.S. surpassed 450,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday, by far the most fatalities for any nation during the pandemic, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Even though infection rates have declined in recent weeks, daily deaths from Covid in the U.S. remain stubbornly high above 3,000. However, experts expect the number of deaths to fall soon. (Associated Press)

* Dr. Fauci says it's important to wear a mask even after getting the Covid vaccine. Here's why (CNBC)

Ford (F) intends to invest $29 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025, a move it announced while releasing better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings Thursday. Ford's stock was higher by more than 2% in early trading. Wall Street was looking at whether Ford would hike its investment in emerging auto technologies after rival General Motors announced plans to do so last year. (CNBC)

* South Korea unveils $43 billion plan for world's largest offshore wind farm (Reuters)

Chamath Palihapitiya-backed Clover Health Investments (CLOV) announced it's received notice of investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission and plans to cooperate with the regulator's inquiry. However, the recently public insurance company also issued a response to the critical report released Thursday by Hindenburg Research, calling some of the short-selling firm's claims "completely untrue." Clover shares rose by over 3% in premarket trading, one day after tanking 12.3%. (CNBC)

Snap (SNAP) and Unity Software (U) have joined Facebook (FB) in warning about the potential impact of Apple's privacy changes set to be widely rolled out this spring. After releasing earnings Thursday, both Snap and Unity Software highlighted the possible business implications of Apple's changes, which are expected to make targeted advertising less effective than before. Shares of Snap and Unity Software were significantly lower in the premarket. (CNBC)

* Super Bowl ads aim to comfort and connect (Associated Press)


Peloton (PTON) doubled consensus estimates in reporting quarterly profit of 18 cents per share, while the fitness equipment maker's revenue came in above estimates as well. However, Peloton will be incurring extra costs in the near term to reduce shipping delays, and is delaying launch of a new treadmill while it focuses in cutting down on delivery times.

T-Mobile (TMUS) came in 9 cents ahead of forecasts by reporting quarterly earnings of 60 cents per share, while the mobile service provider saw revenue beat estimates as well. T-Mobile did say that it will incur more ongoing costs this year as it moves former Sprint subscribers onto its network.

Gilead Sciences (GILD) beat estimates by 4 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of $2.19 per share, with the drug maker's revenue also above Wall Street forecasts. Gilead's results were boosted by sales of its antiviral treatment remdesivir, used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Pinterest (PINS) reported adjusted quarterly earnings of 43 cents per share, 11 cents above estimates, with revenue also scoring a beat. The image-sharing company was helped by robust ad sales during the holiday shopping period, as it added more than 100 million active users during 2020.

Activision (ATVI) reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.21 per share, beating consensus forecasts by 3 cents, with the videogame developer seeing revenue above estimates as well. It also gave an upbeat 2021 sales forecast on the strength of its newest installment of the "Call of Duty" franchise.

Alibaba's (BABA) $5 billion U.S. dollar bond offering was 8 times oversubscribed, with Reuters reporting that several sovereign wealth funds were among the buyers of the Chinese e-commerce giant's debt.

News Corp. (NWSA) earned an adjusted 34 cents per share for its latest quarter, compared to an 11 cent estimate, with the Wall Street Journal publisher also seeing revenue above forecasts. The company saw strong results for its digital real estate and book publishing operations during the quarter.

Skechers (SKX) missed estimates by 6 cents, reporting adjusted quarterly profit of 24 cents per share, and the shoe company saw revenue miss estimates as well. Skechers said it faced challenges in 2020 due to the pandemic and is not issuing a forecast due to the ongoing uncertainty, but it notes it was able to come close to record sales in the fourth quarter.

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