5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday, Aug. 26

Here are the top news, trends, and analysis investors need to start their trading day:

1. Wall Street looks flat after S&P 500, Nasdaq record closes

A trader works on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, USA, 20 August 2021.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

US stock futures were flat before the bell on Thursday after two major economic reports. The S&P 500 crossed 4,500 for the first time ever on Wednesday but ended up slightly below that level for another record high. The Nasdaq ended with another record. Both benchmarks were on a winning streak of five sessions that went outdoors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its fourth consecutive positive session, nearing last week’s record high – about 0.6% away. Dow stock Salesforce rose 2% early Thursday morning after reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings and sales and robust forward guidance.

2. Unemployment claims, GDP data ahead of the Fed summit

Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg via Getty Images

The 10-year government bond yield rose Thursday, a day after hitting its highest level in weeks. Traders received the latest figures on weekly unemployment claims and economic growth.

  • In the week ending August 21, new applications totaled 353,000.
  • The government’s second look at gross domestic product for the second quarter came in slightly below estimates at an annual rate of 6.6%.
  • Taken together, the reports show an economy growing from the pandemic, despite concerns about soaring cases of the Covid Delta variant.

Several regional Federal Reserve presidents speak ahead of Fed chief Jerome Powell’s Friday speech ahead of the Jackson Hole, Wyoming virtual summit Thursday. Kansas City Fed President Esther George said it was time for the central bank to cut its policy incentives.

3. Covid hospital admissions of children rise to the highest level in the US

A woman walks near the emergency entrance to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.

Paul Hennessy | SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images

New Covid hospital admissions for children have reached their highest level since the US started tracking pediatric cases about a year ago. Doctors warn that if schools reopen and the fast-paced Delta variant pushes infections higher, things could get worse. While Delta is more contagious than previous variants, leading to an increase in pediatric hospital admissions, it does not appear to cause any more serious illness in children so far. Children still make up a small number of hospital admissions at 1.8%. Of more than 520,000 Covid deaths for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has demographic data, fewer than 500 were children under the age of 18.

4. Great Britain reports “high threat” of a terrorist attack on Kabul airport

Evacuees wait to board a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 23, 2021.

Sgt. Isaiah Campbell | US Marine Corps | via Reuters

UK officials warn of a “very credible” threat of an attack on Kabul airport by Islamic State militants. The terrorist alert comes as massive evacuation efforts enter their final stages and countries seek to evacuate people from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan before President Joe Biden’s August 31 deadline. Up to 1,500 Americans are still waiting to be evacuated from Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said on Wednesday at his first press conference since the Afghan government was overthrown by the Taliban more than a week ago.

5. Microsoft and Google promise to spend billions on cybersecurity after the Biden meeting

(LR) Apple CEO Tim Cook, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna and Google CEO Sundar Pichai listen as U.S. President Joe Biden hears during a meeting on cybersecurity in the East Room of the White House on August 25, 2021 in Washington, DC, speaks.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Business leaders from a number of industries have pledged billions of dollars to improve US cybersecurity capabilities. Microsoft has pledged $ 20 billion over five years to provide more advanced security tools, CEO Satya Nadella tweeted after meeting the President at the White House on Wednesday. Alphabet’s Google has pledged to invest more than $ 10 billion over five years to strengthen cybersecurity and train 100,000 American workers in technical fields. Two water company executives who left the meeting told CNBC that the discussion emphasized collaboration between sectors.

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