What to watch today: Dow set to drop as Walmart declines on disappointing earnings

U.S. stock futures fell Thursday, after Dow stock Walmart droppedin the premarket on disappointing earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday erased a 180-point loss and ended 90 points higher for another record close. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed slightly lower for the second straight session. (CNBC)

* No 2. cryptocurrency ethereum soars to record high as bitcoin rally continues (CNBC)

The Labor Department on Thursday morning reported 861,000 new filings for unemployment benefits for last week, nearly 90,000 more than expected. The prior week's initial jobless claims reading was revised higher by 55,000 to 848,000. The four-week moving average was 833,250. (CNBC)

Walmart (WMT) reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.39 per share, which fell short of estimates. Revenue grew by 7.3% to a better-than-expected $152.1 billion. The big-box retailer's e-commerce sales in the U.S. grew by 69% and its same-store sales in the U.S. grew by 8.6%. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the company will boost U.S. worker wages, raising the average for hourly employees to above $15 per hour. (CNBC)

Marriott International (MAR) bucked recent trends by hotel chains by beating estimates, earning an adjusted 12 cents per share for its latest quarter compared to an 11 cent estimate. Revenue did miss forecasts as the company continues to be impacted by the pandemic. Shares were little change in Thursday's premarket. (Press Release)

* Op-ed: It's not often a CEO touches you at your core, but Marriott's Arne Sorenson did just that (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

The heads of Robinhood, Reddit, Citadel and Melvin Capital, will be in Washington for Thursday's highly anticipated GameStop hearing, which is scheduled to begin at noon ET in the House Financial Services Committee. In prepared remarks, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said no significant activity on WallStreetBets last month was driven by bots or foreign agents. Keith Gill, the Reddit and YouTube trading star known as "Roaring Kitty," plans to defend his social media posts that helped spark a mania in GameStop shares.

* Robinhood-GameStop hearing will scrutinize how brokerages get paid for trades (CNBC)
* Sen. Warren presses Citadel CEO Griffin about relationship with Robinhood (CNBC)

Bill Gates told CNBC that Johnson & Johnson's and Novavax's vaccines will still be essential tools against new, emerging variants of the coronavirus, even though the companies have said their shots may be less potent against a strain found in South Africa. Gates' foundation has donated millions to coronavirus vaccine and treatment research. (CNBC)

* Bill Gates: We need more Elon Musks to tackle climate change (CNBC)
* Bill Gates: Trump probably should be allowed back on social media (CNBC)

Life expectancy in the U.S. dropped a staggering one year during the first half of 2020 as the pandemic caused the first wave of coronavirus deaths. Minorities suffered the biggest impact, with Black Americans losing nearly three years and Hispanics, nearly two years, according to preliminary estimates Thursday from the CDC. (AP)

More than 500,000 households in Texas are still without power Thursday morning, according to poweroutage.us, following Sunday night's historic cold and snow that caused the state's worst blackouts in decades. Millions of people were in the dark at the height of the crisis, which was caused by a confluence of factors. (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) banned a large swathe of non-news pages in Australia in its attempt to remove news content from its platform. The bans were made by Facebook in response to a drafted new media law in the country that will require online platforms like Google and Facebook to pay news outlets for displaying and linking to their content. (CNBC)

* Facebook will debunk climate change myths, embracing 'arbiter of truth' role (CNBC)

Tesla (TSLA) cut prices for the cheaper versions of its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, although it raised prices for upper-end models. Shares were down nearly 2% premarket. Tesla has been making various models in its lineup more affordable at a time when legacy automakers are trying to make inroads in the electric vehicle market. (Reuters)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Bloomin' Brands (BLMN): The restaurant operator's shares are down 4.1% premarket after revenue fell below Street forecasts for its latest quarter. The company behind brands including Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill, did report a breakeven quarter on an adjusted basis, compared to forecasts of a 2 cents per share loss.

Sleep Number (SNBR): Sleep Number shares are surging 12.7% premarket after it reported quarterly earnings of $2.19 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $1.45, with the mattress retailer's revenue also exceeding estimates. Sleep Number also issued upbeat full-year guidance.

Tanger Factory Outlets (SKT): The shopping center operator is up 3.1% after reporting a breakeven quarter, compared to forecasts of a 2 cents per share loss, while revenue beat estimates as well. Tanger saw an increase in foot traffic during the quarter, although lower occupancy rates continue to weigh on revenue.

Tilray (TLRY): Tilray lost an adjusted 2 cents per share for its latest quarter, smaller than the 15 cent loss expected by Wall Street analysts, while the cannabis producer's revenue was above estimates. The results come ahead of Tilray's planned merger with rival Aphria (APHA), which it expects to close in the second quarter.

Twilio (TWLO): Twilio was up 9.5% premarket after it reported an adjusted profit of 4 cents per share for its latest quarter, surprising analysts who had expected the cloud computing platform provider to report an 8 cents per share loss. Revenue also came in well above Street forecasts, with results helped by recent acquisitions and election-related business as well as what Twilio calls "broad-based diversified strength."

Hormel Foods (HRL): The food producer's stock is up 2.2% premarket after earnings matched estimates at 41 cents per share and revenue beat Wall Street forecasts. Hormel also said it is increasingly optimistic about full-year sales and earnings growth.

Waste Management (WM): Waste Management shares are up 1% premarket after the waste-hauling company beat estimates by 4 cents with an adjusted quarterly profit of $1.13 per share, with revenue beating estimates as well. Waste Management is also raising its dividend by 12 cents on an annual basis to $2.30 per share.

SunPower (SPWR): SunPower doubled consensus estimates with adjusted quarterly earnings of 14 cents per share, although the solar company's revenue fell short of forecasts. SunPower also issued weaker than expected current quarter guidance.

Baidu (BIDU): Baidu saw quarterly revenue come in above analyst projections, with the search engine's ad sales bouncing back and the company's cloud services seeing increased demand.

Nutrien (NTR)" Nutrien reported better-than-expected earnings for its latest quarter, as the Canadian fertilizer maker saw increased demand amid rising crop prices and plans by farmers to plant more acres this year. The stock is up 3.8% premarket.

Fastly (FSLY): Fastly shares are under pressure, down 6.2% premarket, after the cloud-platform provider reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for its latest quarter but issued a lower than expected forecast.

Source: Read Full Article