Here are five things you must know for Friday, Sept. 18:
1. -- Stock Futures Point to a Mixed Wall Street Opening
Stock futures suggested Wall Street would open mixed Friday amid signs of a patchy U.S. recovery and as coronavirus infections, particularly in Europe, have been surging again.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 36 points, S&P 500 futures were up 4 points and Nasdaq futures rose 54 points.
Stocks finished lower Thursday, led lower again by tech shares, after the Federal Reserve signaled it would keep interest rates at nearly zero for years to support a still reeling U.S. economy.
The Dow declined 130 points, or 0.47%, to 27,901, putting an end to the blue-chip index’s four-day winning streak. The S&P 500 closed down 0.84% and the Nasdaq slumped 1.27% following losses by technology giants such as Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Report and Apple (AAPL) - Get Report.
Pressure on stocks also came from the increasingly long odds that Congress will come through with more aid for the U.S. economy and for unemployed workers. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell emphasized the need for more fiscal stimulus on Wednesday.
“Hesitations as to whether the U.S. economy can sustain the current pace of recovery amid the lack of additional fiscal policy support and the Fed standing put on stimulus had the market reeling once again,” said Jingyi Pan, senior market analyst at IG.
The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes Consumer Sentiment for September at 10 a.m. ET.
2. -- Coronavirus - The Latest
The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 30,183,223, according to Johns Hopkins University, and deaths increased to 946,158.
In the U.S., there have been 6,675,560 cases of the coronavirus and 197,643 deaths - both tops in the world.
In London, a surge of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, is expected to be confirmed by official figures Friday, putting England's capital on track for curbs on socializing in about two weeks, The Evening Standard reported.
France’s daily coronavirus cases rose by more than 10,000 to the highest since the end of the lockdown in May, Bloomberg reported. Health Minister Olivier Veran warned the disease was "“again very active” in the country.
The uptick in French infections mirrors steady increases across Europe, Bloomberg noted.
Switzerland's Roche said its Actemra drug reduced the likelihood patients with Covid-19-related pneumonia would need to be put on ventilators. Hospital patients taking the treatment were 44% less likely to need ventilators or die, according to Roche.
3. -- Unity Software Raises $1.3 Billion in IPO
Unity Software, a developer of a widely used game development engine, raised $1.3 billion after its initial public offering was priced at the top end of its expected range.
The San Francisco company sold 25 million shares at $52 each. Earlier this week, Unity Software boosted the expected pricing of its initial public offering to between $44 and $48 a share. It initially had been looking to price the IPO at between $34 and $42 a share.
Unity Software has a market value of $13.7 billion.
Unity Software will begin trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "U."
The company's listing comes during a busy week for tech IPOs, particularly from Snowflake (SNOW) - Get Report, which had the biggest IPO for a software company on record.
4. -- Delta Reduces Pilot Furloughs in Pact With Union
The agreement, which must go through a review process by the Air Line Pilots Association, would provide voluntary scheduling options so that work can be spread among more pilots, according to a memo Thursday from John Laughter, Delta’s senior vice president of flight operations, that was seen by Bloomberg. The number of jobs saved will depend on how many pilots select the options.
A union spokesman told Bloomberg the tentative agreement would hold off the furloughs until at least Jan. 1.
Delta previously has said it furlough nearly 2,000 pilots in October without more federal aid.
5. -- UPS to Offer Buyouts to Management Employees
"UPS is providing voluntary severance offers to some employees as part of its transformation," a spokesman told The Wall Street Journal. "Aligning our talent with the needs of our company and customers is critical to becoming a stronger, more agile UPS."
The Journal reported the Atlanta-based shipping giant is expected to present the buyouts to qualifying management in non-operations roles on Friday. The workers would leave in two phases: by the end of 2020, and mid-2021, a person familiar with the matter told the Journal.
The company's workforce numbered about 500,000 at the end of last year, including 87,000 in management positions. UPS last offered buyouts to workers in 2018, an effort that cut about $200 million in annual expenses, the Journal noted.