Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Stock futures are flat a day after S&P 500 and Dow post fresh records
- Jobless claims fall for third week in a row
- Alaska Air considers staff Covid vaccine mandates
- Give Fed Chairman Powell 'the benefit of the doubt' on inflation, Cramer says
- Messi getting paid partially in crypto
1. Stock futures are flat a day after S&P 500 and Dow post fresh records
U.S. stock futures were little changed Thursday following another record-setting session for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average. S&P 500 futures rose marginally, while Dow futures climbed 40 points, or 0.1%. Nasdaq 100 futures were also up slightly. The S&P 500 and Dow closed Wednesday at fresh all-time highs, after investors shrugged off the latest reading for the U.S. consumer price index. The index rose 5.4% on a year-over-year basis, about in line with expectations.
2. Jobless claims fall for third week in a row
Initial jobless claims fell for a third straight week, reaching a new pandemic-era low, the Labor Department said Thursday. There were 375,000 claims filed in the week ending Aug. 7, matching a Dow Jones estimate. The reading for the week ending July 31 was upwardly revised by 2,000 to 387,000. Meanwhile, the July reading for the U.S. producer price index rose by 1%, topping a Dow Jones estimate for a gain of 0.5%.
3. Alaska Air considers staff Covid vaccine mandates
Alaska Airlines is considering making Covid vaccinations mandatory for employees, according to a company memo seen by CNBC. The airline said if it does make vaccines compulsory for its employees, it would do so after the Food and Drug Administration gives full approval of the shots currently available. This policy change would make the carrier the latest airline to require its employees get vaccinated. United Airlines last week became the first major airline to do so.
4. Give Fed Chairman Powell 'the benefit of the doubt' on inflation, Cramer says
CNBC's Jim Cramer asked investors to support Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's approach to monetary policy as inflationary pressures grow. "I say give Jay Powell the benefit of the doubt. He's been right as rain since the pandemic started. His critics have been dead wrong for ages," Cramer said Wednesday on "Mad Money." "Powell's been adamant that we need to wait and see what happens with the delta variant before he starts raising rates or even tapering." Cramer also said the recent uptick in inflation could be temporary.
5. Messi getting paid partially in crypto
Lionel Messi's new team, PSG, said Thursday the soccer superstar's wage package includes a cryptocurrency called "PSG Fan Tokens." The team said the move to partially pay Messi in crypto makes it one of the "most innovative and avant-garde brands in sport globally." Messi signed a two-year deal with PSG this week. The deal will net Messi a yearly salary of $41 million and a reported signing bonus of $30 million.
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