Futures mixed; Powell testimony, Morgan Stanley, Netflix, Jobless claims, and more

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Stock futures mixed as Powell heads to the Hill again

U.S. stock futures fell into the red ahead of Thursday’s open, as market participants looked to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony for clues on how the central bank policymakers are balancing inflation risk with their promise to ensure a full labor market recovery.

In testimony given to the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, Powell told lawmakers that rising consumer prices will calm and that the Fed doesn’t plan to tighten its monetary policy anytime soon.

He said that the current inflation spikes are linked to a “small group of goods and services directly tied to the reopening.”

Powell is also scheduled to appear before the Senate Banking Committee later today.

As of 5:30 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were up 115 points, or 0.33% to 34,701. S&P 500 futures gained 5.37 points, or 0.12% to 4,362.38 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 rose 53.87 points, or 0.36% to 14,945.62.

Jobless claims data on tap

On the economic data front, traders will be watching as the U.S. Labor Department releases its weekly data on initial jobless before the opening bell.

Expectations are for the report to show that initial unemployment claims dropped to 350,000 for the week ended July 10 from the 373,000 reported during the previous week.

Continuing claims for the week ended July 3 are seen coming in at 3.300 million, down from 3.339 million during the prior week.

The report is scheduled to be published at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Morgan Stanley, UnitedHealth earnings eyed

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) are among the major companies set to report to earnings today.

Analysts expect Morgan Stanley to post second-quarter earnings of $1.65 per share and revenue of $13.96 billion ahead of the opening bell.

UnitedHealth is projected to come out with second-quarter earnings of $4.43 per share and sales of $69.45 billion.

Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK), U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE: TSM), American Outdoor Brands (NASDAQ: AOUT), and Alcoa (NYSE: AA) will also publish their financial results today.

Netflix reportedly planning to expand into video games

In other news, a new report from Bloomberg says that Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is planning an expansion into video games and has tapped Mike Verdu to lead the plan.

Netflix confirmed the report on Wednesday saying that Verdu, who is a former Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) executive, will join the company as vice president of game development and report to COO Greg Peters.

Bloomberg, citing a person familiar with the situation, said the games will appear as a new programming genre and Netflix might initially offer them at no extra charge.

Shares of the streaming giant jumped $12.15, or 2.22% to $560.10 in the premarket trading session Thursday.

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