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Peloton, Jobs Report, Ford - 5 Things You Must Know Friday

Stock futures rise ahead of the release of the U.S. jobs report for January; Ford to invest $29 billion in EVs and driverless-car technology; Robinhood lifts limits on buying GameStop and AMC.

Here are five things you must know for Friday, Feb. 5:

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

Stock futures were rising Friday after the S&P 500 set a record high amid signs the labor market may be slowly recovering from the grip of the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. jobless claims fell to the lowest since November, according to a report Thursday, and further data on the U.S. labor market will be released Friday when the Labor Department issues the nonfarm payrolls report for January.

Stocks also were receiving a boost from a rebound in corporate profits and optimism surrounding President Joe Biden’s push for another round of fiscal stimulus for millions of Americans. 

The Senate approved a budget bill early Friday that paves the way for Democratic lawmakers in the upper chamber to pass Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus bill without Republican support.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 153 points, S&P 500 futures gained 19 points and Nasdaq futures were up 47 points.

Stocks finished higher for a fourth session Thursday and the S&P 500 closed at a record as sentiment got a boost from a drop in weekly jobless claims to below 800,000 for the first time since November.

As for the pandemic, Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Free Report submitted an application with U.S. regulators seeking emergency use authorization for its investigational single-dose Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

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

The U.S. economic calendar for Friday includes the official U.S. jobs report for January.

Economists surveyed by FactSet expect the U.S. to have added 100,000 jobs last month, not a fantastic number but better than the loss of 140,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate is expected to remain steady at 6.7%.

The calendar also includes International Trade in Goods and Services for December at 8:30 a.m.

Earnings reports are expected Friday from Estee Lauder  (EL) - Get Free Report, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals  (REGN) - Get Free Report, Illinois Tool Works  (ITW) - Get Free Report and Cardinal Health  (CAH) - Get Free Report

3. -- Ford to Spend $29 Billion on Electric and Autonomous Vehicles

Ford  (F) - Get Free Report reported a loss of $2.8 billion in the fourth quarter but the stock rose more than 1% in premarket trading after the automaker said it plans to spend $29 billion on electric and autonomous vehicles.

Ford will devote $22 billion on electric vehicles through 2025, and spend $7 billion on driverless-car technology.

“We have no intention to cede ground to others in vehicle segments where Ford is the established leader,” said CEO Jim Farley on a conference call with analysts following the release of earnings. “Our time is now at Ford, we’re not talking about aspirations.”

Rival General Motors  (GM) - Get Free Report said last week it planned to be "carbon neutral" by 2040 and phase out gasoline and diesel cars by 2035.

Ford's adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of 34 cents a share topped analysts' forecasts that called for loss of 7 cents a share.

Revenue totaled $36 billion, compared with year-earlier sales of $39.7 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $36.8 billion in revenue. 

"Overall, this was a very strong quarter for Ford and was highlighted by profitability that came in much stronger than expected and the news that management doubled down on its investment in electrification and autonomous capabilities," said Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS club, which holds Ford in its portfolio.

4. -- Peloton Slumps as Costs to Address Delivery Delays Will Hit Profits

Peloton Interactive  (PTON) - Get Free Report was falling 7% in premarket trading Friday after the maker of connected fitness equipment posted its first quarter with sales of more than $1 billion but warned that costs to address delivery delays would crimp profits.

“West Coast port delays and Covid-related factors continue to present challenges to returning our delivery times to pre-pandemic levels,” Peloton said in a statement.

The company said it would invest more than $100 million in air freight and expedited ocean freight over the next six months to improve delivery times.

“While this investment will dampen our near-term profitability, improving our Member experience is our first priority,” Peloton said.

In the December quarter, revenue at Peloton jumped 128% from a year earlier to $1.06 billion. Analysts were calling for sales of $1.04 billion.

For the current quarter, the company said it expects revenue of $1.1 billion. It raised its sales forecast for the full fiscal year to $4.08 billion, up from previous guidance of $3.9 billion.

5. -- Robinhood Removes Restrictions on Buying GameStop and AMC Shares

Robinhood, the online trading app, removed limits on buying shares of GameStop  (GME) - Get Free Report and AMC Entertainment  (AMC) - Get Free Report, the stocks made popular by the Reddit investor forum WallStreetBets.

"There are currently no temporary limits to increasing your positions,” Robinhood said in a statement on its website.

Shares of both companies have fallen sharply this week as the Reddit crowd has turned its attention to other areas of the market.

In premarket trading Friday, GameStop was rising more than 11% and AMC was up 4.94%.

Robinhood came under fire last week after its move to impose trading restrictions, along with limits imposed by online brokerages, sparked an outcry among social media groups and elected officials alleging a Wall Street effort to protect itself against newly empowered populist investors.