Futures lower; Jobless claims, GameStop hearing, Facebook, Walmart, and more


Stock futures tilt lower ahead of weekly jobless claims

U.S. stocks look poised to open slightly lower on Thursday as traders await the release of weekly jobless claims report.

By 5:50 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow were down 77 points, or 0.24% to 31,472. Those for the S&P 500 fell 15.12 points, or 0.38% to 3,912.88 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq futures dropped 91.25 points, or 0.67% to 13,608.5.

The jobless claims data, due out at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show 773,000 new claims for the week ended Feb. 13, down from 793,000 the prior week. Continuing claims are seen coming in at 4.4 million, compared to 4.545 million during prior week.

Walmart, Roku, Dropbox earnings on tap

Market participants are also bracing for a slew of corporate earnings today including from Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Roku (NASDAQ: ROKU), and Dropbox (NASDAQ: DBX).

Analysts expect Walmart to report earnings of $1.50 per share on revenue of $148.47 billion ahead of the market open.

Roku is seen reporting a loss of 5 cents per share on sales of $617.70 million after the closing bell. Dropbox is projected to post earnings of 24 cents per share on sales of $498.64 million.

Other key earnings to watch include TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP), Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT), Blue Apron (NYSE: APRN), Hormel Foods (NYSE: HRL), and Marriott (NASDAQ: MAR).

Robinhood, Reddit CEOs to appear before Congress

Meanwhile, the House Financial Services Committee will today look into the recent GameStop (NYSE: GME) trading controversy and discuss the shortage of data on the short sales, according to a memo issued in advance of the hearing.

Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev, Reddit CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman, Melvin Capital CEO Gabriel Plotkin, Citadel CEO Kenneth Griffin and Keith Gill, will testify before the committee at 12 p.m. ET.

House lawmakers called for the hearing after a battle between Wall Street forces and traders in Reddit groups including r/wallstreetbets rocked markets.

The Redditors orchestrated a monster short squeeze against money managers shorting GameStop, pushing the share-price of the video game retailer to record levels.

However, the stock and others targeted by the traders plunged when online brokerages including Robinhood restricted users from buying shares. This caused traders to lots of money and prompted widespread outrage.

Facebook bans sharing of news content in Australia

Facebook (NYSE: FB) has blocked users in Australia from viewing or sharing news articles on its platform, a dramatic escalation in the dispute over whether tech companies should pay publishers when their content shows up on social media or in search results.

The social media giant said in a blog post that Australian news publishers can publish news content on its website, but Australians won’t be able to view or share the posts and links to these stories.

Facebook announced the decision early Wednesday, hours after Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) subsidiary Google said it had struck a three-year global news deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to pay for some of its news content.