What to watch today: Wall Street looks flat after S&P 500, Nasdaq record closes

U.S. stock futures were flat Thursday ahead of two key before-the-bell economic reports. The S&P 500 on Wednesday crossed 4,500 for the first time ever, but ended slightly below that level for another record high close. The Nasdaq finished at another record. Both benchmarks were on five-session winning streaks heading into the open. The Dow saw its fourth straight positive session and inched closer to last week's record high close. (CNBC)

Dow stock Salesforce (CRM) rose 2% in Thursday's premarket, the morning after reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue, as well as robust forward guidance. (CNBC)

The 10-year Treasury yield was steady Thursday, one day after rising to its highest level in weeks. Traders will get the latest figures on weekly jobless claims and economic growth at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect 350,000 new claims for the week ended Aug. 21. That would be a slight increase from the previous week's pandemic-era low.

The government's second look at gross domestic product for the second quarter is seen rising slightly from the previous estimate to an annual rate of 6.7%. Several regional Federal Reserve presidents speak Thursday, ahead of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's Friday address to the virtual Jackson Hole, Wyoming, summit.

* Fed’s Esther George says it’s time to start easing off on policy juice (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

New Covid hospital admissions for kids have reached their highest levels since the U.S. started tracking pediatric cases about a year ago. Doctors are warning it could get worse as schools begin to reopen and the fast-moving delta variant drives infections higher. While delta is more contagious than previous variants, causing a surge in pediatric hospitalizations, so far it doesn't appear to generate more severe disease in children. (CNBC)

Officials from the U.K. have warned of a "highly credible" threat of an attack at Kabul airport by Islamic State militants. The terror alert comes as massive evacuation efforts enter their final stages, with countries scrambling to get people out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden. (CNBC)

* U.S. still working to contact most of the estimated 1,500 Americans left in Afghanistan (CNBC)

Business leaders from a range of industries pledged billions of dollars to increase U.S. cybersecurity capabilities. Microsoft committed $20 billion over five years to deliver more advanced security tools, CEO Satya Nadella tweeted after Wednesday's meeting at the White House with the president. Alphabet's Google promised to invest more than $10 billion over five years to strengthen cybersecurity and to train 100,000 American workers in technical fields. (CNBC)

* Microsoft hires former Amazon cloud executive Charlie Bell (CNBC)
* TikTok changed its policies, now crypto influencers consider moving to rival platforms (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Coty (COTY): the cosmetics maker's shares added 2.7% in the premarket after it said it expects a return to annual sales growth this year. Coty's adjusted loss for its latest quarter was 9 cents per share, 3 cents wider than expected, but sales did come in above Wall Street forecasts.

Dollar General (DG): The discount retailer beat estimates by 10 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of $2.69 per share and revenue slightly above forecasts. Comparable store sales fell 4.7%, less than the 5.1% drop expected by analysts surveyed by StreetAccount. However, Dollar General did forecast lower-than-expected earnings for the full year, and its shares fell 2.9% in premarket trading.

Dollar Tree (DLTR): Dollar Tree shares fell 3.1% in premarket trading after the discount retailer posted a mixed quarter. Revenue fell below Street forecasts, while earnings of $1.23 per share did beat the consensus estimate of $1.

J.M. Smucker (SJM): The food producer earned an adjusted $1.90 per share for its latest quarter, 4 cents above estimates, with revenue slightly above Wall Street projections. However, Smucker cut its full-year forecast, noting higher input costs and supply chain disruption. Shares lost 1.9% in the premarket.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) – The apparel retailer's shares slid 7% in the premarket, as revenue fell below analyst forecasts. Abercrombie did report an adjusted profit of $1.70 per share, compared with a 77-cent consensus estimate.

Ulta Beauty (ULTA:Ulta shares rallied 6.4% in the premarket after it more than doubled the $2.59 consensus estimate with a quarterly profit of $4.56 per share. The cosmetics retailer's revenue beat estimates as well, and it raised its full-year outlook as an overall improvement in the beauty industry continues.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM): Williams-Sonoma surged 15.2% in premarket trading following top and bottom-line beats as well as a raised outlook and a 20% dividend increase. The housewares retailer reported an adjusted quarterly profit of $3.24 per share compared with the $2.61 consensus estimate, as the pandemic-induced focus on homes and home decor continued.

Box (BOX) – Box beat estimates by 2 cents with an adjusted quarterly profit of 21 cents per share, while the cloud storage company's revenue also came in above analyst forecasts. Box also raised its full-year revenue guidance, saying it continues to benefit from the "megatrend" of digital transformation. However, shares fell 1.7% in premarket action

Snowflake (SNOW) – Snowflake lost an adjusted 4 cents per share for its latest quarter, narrower than the 15-cent loss anticipated by Wall Street, while the database software company's revenue came in above consensus. Sales more than doubled from a year ago, but its overall loss widened compared with a year earlier. Snowflake jumped 5.2% in premarket trading.

Pure Storage (PSTG): Pure Storage soared 14.1% in the premarket after it nearly tripled the 5-cent consensus estimate with adjusted quarterly earnings of 14 cents per share. The cloud storage company's revenue also topped Street projections as subscription revenue rose 31% from a year ago.

Autodesk (ADSK): Autodesk shares tumbled 7.7% in premarket trading, as quarterly revenue was merely in line with estimates and its current-quarter earnings guidance disappointed investors. Autodesk did beat estimates by 8 cents for its latest quarter with adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.21 per share.

Western Digital (WDC): Western Digital is in talks for a possible $20 billion merger with Japanese chipmaker Kioxia, according to multiple reports. Talks are said to have heated up in recent weeks, and a deal could be reached as early as mid-September, according to people familiar with the matter. Western Digital rose 1% in the premarket.

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