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Jobs Report, DraftKings, Virgin Galactic, Novavax, AMC - 5 Things You Must Know

Stock futures waver as investors await the jobs report for July; DraftKings reports earnings; Virgin Galactic space flights begins at $450,000; Novavax delays filing for U.S. clearance of COVID vaccine.

Here are five things you must know for Friday, Aug. 6:

1. -- Stock Futures Waver Ahead of U.S. Jobs Report

Stock futures fluctuated Friday as investors awaited the jobs report for July, the most closely watched economic indicator of any month.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 32 points, S&P 500 futures were up 2 points and Nasdaq futures declined 16 points. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury climbed Friday to 1.253%.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at records Thursday on the back of strong corporate earnings.

The Labor Department will release the official U.S. jobs report on Friday. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect the U.S. to have added 862,500 jobs in July, higher than June's 850,000. The unemployment rate is forecast to fall to 5.7% from 5.9%.

Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network, said he thinks the expectations for jobs gains look too optimistic.

"The major reason is the sudden resurgence of the pandemic, with the delta variant taking case growth to five times the level at the end of June," McMillan said. He noted how the ADP employment report, which showed private payrolls rising by only 330,000 in July, suggests that job growth may have slowed significantly in response to the medical news.

"If we see a similar shortfall in the official report, it would signal that the job recovery has slowed, at a minimum," he said.

What to Expect From the Jobs Report for July

On Thursday, first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell for a second straight week, boosting expectations for a strong jobs report. A robust number, however, could increase bets on the Federal Reserve's tapering bond purchases sooner rather than later. 

2. -- Friday's Calendar: Jobs Report, DraftKings Earnings

The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes the nonfarm payrolls report at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Economists surveyed by FactSet expect the U.S. to have added 862,500 jobs in July, higher than June's 850,000. The unemployment rate is forecast to fall to 5.7% from 5.9%.

DraftKings  (DKNG) - Get DraftKings Inc. (DKNG) Report reported a narrower-than-expected second-quarter loss and raised its guidance for the remainder of the year amid a rebound in online sports betting and interest in NFTs and other media that continues to draw users to its online platform. 

Reports are also expected Friday from Magna International  (MGA) - Get Magna International Inc. Report, Nuance Communications  (NUAN) - Get Nuance Communications, Inc. Report, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings  (NCLH) - Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report and Canopy Growth  (CGC) - Get Canopy Growth Corporation Report

3. -- Virgin Galactic Space Flights Start at $450,000

Virgin Galactic  (SPCE) - Get Virgin Galactic Report said it was selling seats on its suborbital space flights for $450,000 a seat and up.

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Virgin Galactic's "private astronaut market" will have three consumer offerings: single seat; multiseat couples, friends and family packages; and full-flight buyouts. The $450,000 price will be the cheapest option for a single seat. 

The company said it would open sales first to its list of about 600 early hand-raisers.

“As we endeavor to bring the wonder of space to a broad global population, we are delighted to open the door to an entirely new industry and consumer experience,” CEIO Michael Colglazier said in a statement.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson completed the company’s first space tourism flight last month,

The company also reported a wider-than-expected second-quarter loss on better-than-expected revenue.

The stock rose 4.22% to $32.86 in premarket trading Friday.

4. -- Novavax Delays Seeking U.S. Clearance for COVID Vaccine

Novavax  (NVAX) - Get Novavax, Inc. Report fell sharply in premarket trading Friday after the biotechnology company said it was delaying its application for U.S. emergency-use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine to the fourth quarter.

The stock dropped 10.67% to $211 early Friday, also taking a hit from Novavax's wider-than-expected loss in the second quarter.

The company previously had said it expected to file its application with the Food and Drug Administration in the third quarter.

The company said it filed for emergency clearance of its vaccine in India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Novavax also said a recent study found that a single booster dose of its vaccine given six months after an initial two-dose regimen increased virus-fighting antibodies by 4.6 times. The study also found that a booster dose of its vaccine could increase protection against the delta variant.

5. -- AMC Entertainment Extends Gains After Hedge Funds Goes Short

AMC Entertainment  (AMC) - Get AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Class A Report extended gains in premarket trading Friday after the stock soared following a report that hedge-fund firm Odey Asset Management shorted the movie theater chain’s shares.

Retail investors in meme stocks such as AMC often go on buying binges of stocks that hedge funds short, a bet that prices will fall.

Odey, the London manager of about $4.1 billion, established the position “recently,” according to investor letters seen by the Financial Times.

The stock was up slightly, rising 0.63% to $33.72. It has gained 1,480% year to date.

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