What to Watch Today: Stocks Set to Pop on Strong Earnings Reports

Source: NYSE

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures rose Thursday after better-than-expected earnings results and as Treasury yields drifted lower even after strong economic data. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 slipped from record levels in volatile trading as tech shares declined. The Nasdaq lost 1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average bucked the trend, posting a modest gain. (CNBC)

* CEO of world's largest money manager: 'I am incredibly bullish' on the stock market (CNBC)
* BlackRock's Larry Fink says institutional clients fascinated by crypto but not that interested (CNBC)

The Commerce Department on Thursday reported March retail sales soared 9.8%, well above estimates for a 6.1% increase. A fresh batch of Covid stimulus checks sent consumer purchases surging last month as the U.S. economy continued to get support from aggressive congressional spending. (CNBC)

* Economy is running on a stimulus-fueled caffeine high. What will happen when it wears off? (CNBC)

The Labor Department on Thursday reported 576,000 initial jobless claims last week, much lower than expectations for 710,000 new filings. That was easily the lowest since the early days of the pandemic and represented a sharp decline from the previous week's upwardly revised 769,000 total. (AP)

Bank of America's (BAC) earnings topped estimates on strong investment banking and trading results, as well as the release of loan loss reserves as fewer consumers were expected to default on loans. Like other banking rivals, BofA saw a large benefit from the improving U.S. economic outlook in recent months. (CNBC)

Citigroup's (C) results that beat analyst estimates for first-quarter profit with strong investment banking revenue and a bigger-than-expected release of loan loss reserves. The firm also said it's shuttering retail banking operations in 13 countries across Asia and parts of Europe to focus more on wealth management outside the U.S. (CNBC)

* Delta posts nearly $1.2 billion quarterly loss, expects to break even in June as bookings improve (CNBC)
* PepsiCo revenue rises 6.8% despite unbalanced economic recovery outside of the U.S. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Coinbase Global (COIN) shares jumped another 8% in Thursday's premarket, one day after the cryptocurrency exchange debuted with a nearly $86 billion market value. In a volatile session, the stock opened at $381 and quickly shot up as high as $429, exceeding a $100 billion market cap. It dropped back below the debut price at one stage and reached a low of around $310. It closed at $328. (CNBC)

* Here’s who just got rich from the Coinbase debut (CNBC)
* Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest loads up on nearly $250 million of Coinbase (CNBC Pro)
* KKR-backed AppLovin raises $2 billion in U.S. IPO at over $28 billion valuation (CNBC)

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has decided to postpone a decision on Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine while it investigates cases of six women developing a rare but severe blood clotting disorder that left one dead and another in critical condition. The CDC committee voted unanimously to reconvene in a week. (CNBC)

* Merck ends development of Covid drug it acquired from OncoImmune (CNBC)

Ford Motor (F) followed Tesla (TSLA) in many ways when it came to the Mustang Mach-E, its new battery electric vehicle, but CEO Jim Farley took to Twitter Thursday to show that Ford is nothing like Tesla when it comes to testing driverless tech using customers as guinea pigs on public roads. (CNBC)

* Walmart investing in GM's Cruise self-driving car company (CNBC)
* Richard Branson sells over $150 million in Virgin Galactic stock (CNBC)
* JPMorgan pledges $2.5 trillion over the next decade toward climate change (CNBC)
* Tech group funded by Amazon, Facebook and Google supports corporate tax hike (CNBC)

Target (TGT) wants to get online purchases to customers' doors even faster. Instead of just shipping packages through carriers, the retailer will also enlist the help of its own team of dedicated delivery people. (CNBC)

President Joe Biden will issue an executive order Thursday authorizing the U.S. government to sanction any sector of the Russian economy and will use it to restrict Russia's ability to issue sovereign debt to punish Moscow for interfering in the 2020 U.S. election, senior White House officials said. (Reuters)

A white former police officer faces her first court appearance Thursday in the traffic-stop shooting of a Black motorist that has engulfed a small Minneapolis suburb with four straight days of bitter conflict between protesters and police. (AP)

The top watchdog for the U.S. Capitol Police will testify for the first time on Thursday about the department's broad failures before and during the Jan. 6 insurrection, including missed intelligence predicting a "war" and weapons that were so old that officers didn't feel comfortable using them. (AP)

Democrats on Capitol Hill will introduce legislation Thursday to expand the Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices. The move intensifies a high-stakes ideological fight over the future of the court after former President Donald Trump and Republicans appointed three conservative justices in four years, including one who was confirmed days before the 2020 election. (NBC News)

Wall Street executives, their employees and trade associations invested at least $2.9 billion into political initiatives during the 2020 election cycle, according to a new research report. That was the most spending by those in the financial services sector in an election cycle since the 2016 presidential contest. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Dell (DELL): Shares of the tech company jumped after Dell announced that is has decided to spin off its 81% equity stake in VMWare. Dell's stock rose more than 7%, while VMWare added 2.6% in premarket trading.

Nvidia (NVDA): Raymond James upgraded the chip stock to a "strong buy" from "outperform," saying the company was well positioned in the short and long term. The firm also initiated coverage of Advanced Micro Devices with an "outperform" rating. Nvidia and AMD rose 1.8% and 1.5%, respectively, in premarket trading.

UnitedHealth (UNH): The managed care company beat estimates on the top and bottom lines for the first quarter, with adjusted earnings of $5.31 per share and more than $70 billion in revenue. UnitedHealth also raised its full-year earnings guidance. Shares were up 1.7% in premarket trading.

American Eagle (AEO): The apparel company announced that it expects first-quarter revenue to top $1 billion, a mid-teens growth from the same period in 2019, before the pandemic. American Eagle also projected operated income to more than double compared with the same period. The company will report its full results on May 1. Shares rose more than 6% in premarket trading.

CrowdStrike (CRWD): Deutsche Bank initiated coverage of the cybersecurity stock with a "buy" rating, saying in a note that the company's margins could exceed 30%. Shares of CrowdStrike rose 3% in premarket trading.

PepsiCo (PEP): The beverage company reported adjusted earnings of $1.21 per share, which was 9 cents above estimates, according to Refinitiv. Revenue also come in higher than expected as organic revenues rose 2.4%. Shares of PepsiCo rose 0.6% in premarket trading.

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