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Here’s what we’re watching ahead of Thursday’s market open.

  • U.S. stock futures wavered amid a slew of economic data releases that are expected to spur discussion among investors about the Federal Reserve’s response to the strengthening economic recovery.
  • Futures tied to the S&P 500 were flat, suggesting muted moves after the market opens. Nasdaq-100 futures declined 0.2%, pointing to moderate losses for technology stocks after the opening bell. Read our full market wrap here.
  • The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits fell again last week to a new pandemic low.
What’s Coming Up
  • U.S. pending home sales for April, due at 10 a.m. ET, are expected to increase 1% from the prior month.
Market Movers to Watch
  • Shares of meme stocks GameStop GME 15.82% and AMC Entertainment AMC 19.20% declined in premarket trading after a fresh retail frenzy pushed both stocks higher Wednesday. GameStop declined 3.3% while AMC fell 5.1%. The two stocks are the most mentioned on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum over the past day, according to TopStonks.com.
  • Snowflake SNOW 2.30% ‘s shares fell 3.7% premarket after the cloud-software company again showed revenue growth of more than 100% in its latest quarter, but losses also grew faster than expected.

A banner for Snowflake was displayed celebrating the company’s IPO at the New York Stock Exchange, Sept. 16, 2020.

Photo: brendan mcdermid/Reuters

  • Okta OKTA 0.97% shares declined 6.9% after the provider of cloud-based software related to identity management boosted revenue in its latest quarter but reported a slightly larger adjusted loss.
  • Shares in Williams-Sonoma WSM 2.58% rose 3.1% after the home goods company’s profit surged in the latest period while revenue rose 42%, helped by a pandemic boost to home-product sales.
  • Auto maker Ford Motor F 8.51% outlined a tech-centric strategy to electrify much of its vehicle lineup and sharply grow its commercial truck and van business. Shares rose to their highest level in nearly five years on Wednesday and added another 2.6% premarket Thursday.
  • Vertex Energy VTNR 2.01% shares soared more than 80% after it agreed to acquire a Mobile, Ala., refinery from a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC for $75 million, part of the company’s ambitions to become a pure-play producer of renewable and conventional products.
  • Shares of Best Buy BBY 2.22% added 1.8% after the electronics retailer’s first-quarter revenue increased by more than a third as the company saw high demand for its products and services.
Market Facts
  • Investors who bet that shares of GameStop and AMC would fall have seen larger than normal losses this week. Those with short positions in GameStop lost about $721.4 million on Tuesday and Wednesday, S3 Partners data show. Short sellers who bet against AMC, meanwhile, have lost about $543 million during the same period.
  • SPACs have raised over $100 billion this year, according to SPAC Research. There were 329 new SPACs this year, up from 248 in 2020 and 59 in 2019. Share prices have tumbled in recent months, and fewer private firms are jumping at the chance to go public via a SPAC marriage amid the market pullback.
  • The number of life-insurance policies sold jumped 11% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the biggest gain since 1983, according to the industry research firm Limra.
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