Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, Aug. 17:
1. -- Stock Futures Fall on Growth Concerns
Stock futures pointed to a weak start for Wall Street Tuesday on worries over the impact the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 might have on the economic recovery.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 218 points, S&P 500 futures fell 21 points and Nasdaq futures declined 56 points. The Dow and the S&P 500 closed at record highs Monday for the fifth time in a row.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury fell Tuesday to 1.23% ahead of an address by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on the health of the world's largest economy. Powell's comments will be parsed for clues on when the central bank might begin its tapering of bond purchases.
Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren said Monday he could be prepared to begin rolling back economic stimulus this fall. But he said he wouldn't boost interest rates until the employment picture improves.
“I think it’s appropriate to start in the fall. That would be October or November,” Rosengren told CNBC. “I certainly wouldn’t want to wait any later than December. My preference would be probably for sooner rather than later.”
Rising U.S. infections, fueled by the delta variant, has the U.S. government poised to offer coronavirus booster shots as soon as next month, according to reports.
The Biden administration could begin offering the extra shots as early as mid-September, according to two officials familiar with the discussions, The New York Times reported. Booster shots would be recommended eight months after people received their second dose.
2. -- Tuesday's Economic Calendar: Retail Sales and Jerome Powell's Town Hall
The economic calendar in the U.S. Tuesday includes Retail Sales for July at 8:30 a.m. ET, Industrial Production for July at 9:15 a.m. and a virtual town hall hosted by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at 1:30 p.m.
3. -- Walmart and Home Depot Report Earnings
Home Depot (HD) - Get Home Depot, Inc. (HD) Report posted stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings, as well as the highest revenue tally on record, as the red-hot housing market bolstered home-improvement spending. But same-store sales rose just 4.5%, missing estimates of 5.4%.
Walmart (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report earned $1.78 a share on an adjusted basis in the second quarter, topping forecasts of $1.57. U.S. same-store sales jumped 5.2%, better than forecasts of an increase of 3.5%.
4. -- Berkshire Hathaway Trims Stake in General Motors, Boosts Kroger Investment
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) - Get Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class A Report reduced its stake in General Motors (GM) - Get General Motors Company (GM) Report during the second quarter and also trimmed its investments in drugmakers AbbVie (ABBV) - Get AbbVie, Inc. Report, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report and Merck (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report.
The conglomerate's investment in GM was valued at $3.55 billion at the end of June. Berkshire Hathaway cut its stake in the automaker by 7 million shares to 60 million shares.
Berkshire Hathaway purchased nearly 11 million shares of Kroger during the second quarter, raising its stake to 61.8 million shares. .
Buffett made no changes to his top holding, Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report, maintaining a stake of 887 million shares. His stake in Bank of America (BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report also remained unchanged during the second quarter.
5. -- Roblox Slumps After Bookings Miss Forecasts
The stock dropped 6.5% to $74.40 in premarket trading Tuesday.
Bookings, a non-GAAP measure of sales used by videogame companies, rose to $665.5 million in the second quarter from $494.2 million a year earlier but came in below estimates of $683.3 million.
The company reported a second-quarter loss of 25 cents a share on revenue of $454.1 million. Analysts had expected earnings of 12 cents a share on revenue of $684.8 million.
Roblox said daily active users outside the U.S. and Canada rose 42% in the quarter from a year earlier. Daily active users over the age of 13 rose 46%.