Dow 31,000, Boeing, Jobs Report, Pfizer, Micron - 5 Things You Must Know Friday

Stock futures rise as investors anticipate more economic stimulus after President-elect Joe Biden takes office; the U.S. jobs report is weaker than expected; Boeing will pay a $2.5 billion fine linked to its 737 MAX program.
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Here are five things you must know for Friday, Jan. 8:

1. -- Stock Futures Rise as Wall Street Looks to the Biden Presidency

Stock futures traded higher Friday as investors anticipated further economic stimulus after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

They mostly held gains after the U.S. jobs report for December came in weaker than expected as Covid-19 cases surged and tighter restrictions were placed on people and businesses.

Wall Street preferred to look past the political unrest in Washington and a global acceleration of the coronavirus and instead focus on expectations that Biden and a Democratic-controlled Congress will increase spending on infrastructure and take other measures to juice the economy. 

Biden has vowed that $2,000 stimulus checks would be delivered to Americans if the Democrats won the Senate runoff elections in Georgia, which they did earlier this week.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 94 points, S&P 500 futures rose 12 points and Nasdaq futures gained 73 points.

Stocks closed at record highs on Thursday. The Dow finished up 211 points, or 0.69%, to 31,041, the S&P 500 gained 1.48% to 3,803 and the Nasdaq jumped 2.56% to 13,067.

The Dow finished over 31,000 for the first time, while the Nasdaq crossed 13,000 for the first time. 

2. -- Friday's Economic Calendar: Jobs Report for December

The U.S. economic calendar Friday includes the official U.S. jobs report for December at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Economists surveyed by FactSet expect the U.S. to have added 100,000 jobs last month, down from 245,000 in November. Some economists expect the report from the Labor Department to show a contraction in the jobs numbers for December.

The U.S. private sector lost 123,000 jobs in December, according to the ADP National Employment Report that was released earlier this week. It was the first decline since April. 

The unemployment rate is forecast to have ticked higher to 6.8% in December from 6.7% last month.

3. -- Boeing to Pay $2.5 Billion Fine for Fraud Charges Related to 737 MAX

Boeing  (BA) - Get Report shares were down slightly in premarket trading Friday after the jetmaker agreed to pay a $2.5 billion fine over fraud and conspiracy charges linked to its 737 MAX jet program.

The settlement involves a criminal penalty of $243.6 million, based on the conduct of two former MAX program technical pilots, and the establishment of a $500 million fund to provide compensation for families of the victims of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, the company said.

Boeing said the deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice, which it entered into on Thursday, will impact the company's fourth-quarter earnings by $743.5 million.

"I firmly believe that entering into this resolution is the right thing for us to do - a step that appropriately acknowledges how we fell short of our values and expectations," said CEO Dave Calhoun. "This resolution is a serious reminder to all of us of how critical our obligation of transparency to regulators is, and the consequences that our company can face if any one of us falls short of those expectations."

The stock fell 0.6% to $211.44 in premarket trading Friday.

4. -- Micron Earnings and Outlook Top Wall Street Estimates

Micron Technology  (MU) - Get Report was rising nearly 4% in premarket trading Friday after the chipmaker's fiscal first-quarter earnings and forecast topped Wall Street estimates.

Adjusted earnings in the first quarter were 78 cents a share vs. 48 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue rose to $5.77 billion from $5.14 billion.

Analysts had been anticipating adjusted earnings of 68 cents a share on revenue of $5.66 billion.

DRAM sales made up 70% of revenue, the memory storage company said, with Micron President and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra adding that for the first time in the company's history it was leading in both DRAM and NAND memory technologies.

For the fiscal second quarter, Micron said it expects adjusted earnings of 68 cents to 82 cents a share on revenue of $5.6 billion to $6 billion. Analysts forecast earnings of 67 cents a share on revenue of $5.55 billion.

Micron shares rose 3.77% to $82.09 in premarket trading Friday.

5. -- Coronavirus - The Latest

A new study suggested the vaccine developed by Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report and BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get Report could offer protection against mutations found in new, fast-spreading variants of the coronavirus that were discovered in the U.K. and South Africa.

The research, conducted by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch and supported by Pfizer and BioNTech, found that antibodies from vaccine recipients successfully fended off the virus in lab dishes.

The study hasn't yet been reviewed by experts.

But “it was a very reassuring finding that at least this mutation, which was one of the ones people are most concerned about, does not seem to be a problem” for the vaccine, said Dr. Philip Dormitzer, Pfizer chief scientific officer.

Deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus were at 365,317, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. on Thursday reported a daily record of more than 4,000 deaths.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, told NPR that "things will get worse as we get into January." He suggested cases will spike as a result of people gathering and traveling more during the holiday season.