Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Wall Street looks flat after Nasdaq’s 3-day winning streak
- Delta Air Lines reports strong earnings, revenue; shares rise
- More hot inflation numbers expected; jobless claims seen steady
- Senate panel to hold hearing on Brainard’s Fed vice chair nomination
- Biden to highlight the federal response to omicron surge
1. Wall Street looks flat after Nasdaq’s 3-day winning streak
U.S. stock futures rose slightly Thursday ahead of what’s expected to be another hot inflation report. The Nasdaq edged higher Wednesday, led by tech stocks rebounding for a third straight session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 eked out gains for a second day in a row, with each ending Wednesday less than 1.5% away from last week’s record closes. The Nasdaq has more work to do to dig out from its recent slide, finishing Wednesday 5.4% away from its latest record close in November.
- Looking ahead, global alternative asset management firm TPG is set to debut on the Nasdaq on Thursday, the morning after pricing its initial public offering at $29.50 per share, the middle of the expected range.
- Moderna expects to report data by March from its Covid vaccine trials involving children aged 2 to 5. If the study is supportive, the company said it would then file for emergency approval for vaccinating that age group. Moderna shares were modestly lower in the premarket.
2. Delta Air Lines reports strong earnings, revenue; shares rise
Delta Air Lines shares rose more than 1.5% in the premarket after the carrier on Thursday posted its highest quarterly revenue since late 2019, a better-than-expected $9.47 billion in the fourth quarter. Earnings of 22 cents per share also beat estimates, thanks in part to strong holiday bookings and more business travel. Delta said it expects a first-quarter loss, blaming the Covid omicron variant for higher costs and weaker-than-expected bookings. However, the airline still sees a travel demand rebound further down the road and a profit this year.
3. More hot inflation numbers expected; jobless claims seen steady
The government’s December data on the producer price index, set for release at 8:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, is expected to show a year-over-year rise of 9.8%. The November PPI, a measure of wholesale inflation, rose 9.6% year over year at the fastest clip on record. Thursday’s report comes after December’s consumer price index rose 7% year over year at the quickest pace since June 1982. The response in the stock and bond markets was rather muted because while high, the CPI matched estimates.
Also at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its Thursday look at initial jobless claims. Economists expect a total of 200,000 first-time filings for unemployment benefits for the week ended Jan. 8. That would be down by 7,000 from the prior week, which showed data well anchored around a level that’s even lower than before the Covid pandemic, when new claims were averaging around 215,000.
4. Senate panel to hold hearing on Brainard’s Fed vice chair nomination
The Senate Banking Committee holds a confirmation hearing at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday to consider Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard‘s nomination to become the next Fed vice chair. In prepared remarks, Brainard said that controlling decades-high inflation is the “most important task” facing central bankers. Brainard’s prepared remarks stuck close to the monetary policy script used by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday at his confirmation hearing for a second term. He said the Fed will act as needed with higher interest rates and other measures to be sure inflation returns from its current highs to the central bank’s 2% target.
5. Biden to highlight the federal response to omicron surge
President Joe Biden plans to deliver remarks Thursday about his administration’s “surge response” to spiking Covid cases due to the highly contagious omicron variant. Biden will highlight the federal government’s efforts to use military medical personnel, starting next week, to help hospitals hit by the dual problems of a crush of Covid patients and staffing shortages due to sick health-care workers. The president will also announce that six additional military medical teams will be deployed to Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island.
— Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow all the market action like a pro on CNBC Pro. Get the latest on the pandemic with CNBC’s coronavirus coverage.