Here are five things you must know for Thursday, September 9:
1. -- Stock Futures Slide As Delta Infections, Central Bank Uncertainty Weigh
Wall Street futures moved lower again Thursday as investors continued to adopt a cautious stance on risk amid signs of a pullback in the post-pandemic recovery and uncertainty linked to the policy path of major central banks around the world.
Slowing employment growth, as well as the ongoing surge in Delta-variant infections and limp consumer spending, set against the rich valuations of near-record high indices on Wall Street, has triggered a series of downgrades for near-term performance from major investment banks including Morgan Stanley, whose chief investment officer, Lisa Shalett, forecast a correction of between 10% and 15% for U.S. stocks by the end of the year.
Investors are also attempting to predict the timing of central bank support withdraws, with the ECB set to meet later this morning in Frankfurt and the Federal Reserve on tap for what could be a crucial September gathering in two weeks' time.
In the meantime, futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a 75 point opening bell decline to start the Thursday session, while those linked to the S&P 500 are priced for a 10.5 point pullback. Nasdaq Composite futures are suggesting a 30 point decline.
Benchmark 10-year note yields rallied to 1.322% following a solid auction of $38 billion in re-opened notes that drew one of the best rates of foreign demand on record yesterday. Oil prices, meanwhile, bumped higher, with WTI futures for October rising past $69 a barrel, after the American Petroleum Institute reported a 4 million barrel decline in domestic crude stocks late Wednesday.
2. -- GameStop Posts Q2 Loss, Stays Silent On Future Plans
GameStop (GME) - Get GameStop Corp. Class A Report shares slumped lower Thursday after the video game retailer and meme stock investor favorite posted a wider-than-expected second quarter loss while remaining silent on plans to grow the struggling business over the second half of the year.
GameStop's adjusted loss for the three months ending on July 31 was pegged at 76 cents per share, a figure that narrowed from last year's -$1.42 but missed Street forecasts by about 10 cents. Revenues grew 26% to $1.183 billion as customers returned to stores in the wake of easing pandemic restrictions.
However, the group's new executive team, comprised of former Amazon AMZN bosses, offered little in the way of near-term strategy options and declined to take questions during a brief earnings call with analysts.
GameStop shares were marked 7.6% lower in pre-market trading Thursday to indicate an opening bell price of $183.70 each.
3. -- Lululemon Surges To Fresh Record High on Earnings Beat, Forecast Boost
Lululemon (LULU) - Get Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU) Report shares soared higher Thursday after the athletic and leisure apparel group blasted second quarter earnings forecasts and boosted its full-year profit outlook.
Vancouver-based Lululemon said it sees full year earnings in the region of $7.38 to $7.48, on sales that could reach $6.26 billion, even as supply chain disruptions add stress to the group's logistics over the second half of the year.
For the quarter ending in July, Lululemon earned a Street-blasting $1.65 pre share as revenues surged 61% from last year's pandemic trough to around $1.45 billion.
Lululemon shares were marked 13.7% higher in pre-market trading Thursday to indicate an opening bell price of $433.00 each, a move that would extend its year-to-date gain to around 24.4%.
4. -- China Expands Video Game Crackdown
China looks set to continue its crackdown on the tech industry this week amid reports that officials in Beijing have suspended the approval of new video game releases amid concerns for their affect on young people.
The South China Morning Post reported the suspension following a meeting with officials from Tencent Holdings and Netease, two of the country's biggest video game producers, that followed a ban on under 18s from playing the games for more than three hours a week.
Last month, the state-backed Economic Information Daily newspaper Tuesday described online gaming as "spiritual opium", and called for stricter curbs on the sector, arguing that "no industry, no sport, can be allowed to develop in a way that will destroy a generation."
5. -- Are You Ready For Some Football?
The National Football League officially kicks-off the 2021 season Thursday with a prime time matchup between the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys.
The Bucs will be lead by 44-year-old quarterback Tom Brady, who enters his 21st NFL season sporting 7 Super Bowl rings and a host of regular season and playoff records. Dallas will be lead by its six-year veteran Dak Prescott, who saw limited pre-season action owing to a shoulder injury that was chronicled on the long-running HBO series Hard Knocks.
For the league itself, the hopes of a 'normal' regular season -- the first to include 17 games -- may rest on the strength of its COVID protocols and its impressive vaccination rates.
More than 93.5% of NFL players, as well as nearly 100% of all football-related staff working for the league's 32 franchises, are now vaccinated, NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills told ESPN, and players will be tested daily throughout the season.