Here are five things you must know for Thursday, Feb. 25:
1. -- Stock Futures Waver After Dow Sets Record High
Stock futures fluctuated Thursday and bonds tumbled as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated the central bank's commitment to supporting the economy and employment, and investors banked on more fiscal aid from the U.S. government.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 24 points, S&P 500 futures fell 7 points and Nasdaq futures were down 100 points.
Stocks closed sharply higher Wednesday and the Dow set a closing record after Powell said the Fed would remain supportive of the economy and he downplayed concerns over near-term inflation. The Dow rose 424 points, or 1.35%, to close at 31,961.
U.S. Treasury bond yields have been surging, a sign of inflation sentiment, leading many to believe the Fed could be prompted to raise interest rates.
But Powell said it might take more than three years for inflation to hit the Fed’s target of 2%, meaning rates won't be lifted anytime before 2023.
The 10-year Treasury yield traded at 1.449% on Thursday, near the highest levels in a year.
Meanwhile, House Democrats expect to pass President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Friday. It would then move to the Senate for a vote, with hopes of sending it to Biden before March 14.
2. -- GameStop Surges Amid More Meme Stock Mania
The video game retailer at the center of the Reddit-fueled buying frenzy last month rose 51.22% early Thursday to $138.68.
Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum recovered from an hour-long outage that affected thousands of users Wednesday as volatility picked up in the meme stocks.
The frenzy in GameStop followed an announcement that Chief Financial Officer Jim Bell would be departing the company after less than two years on the job. Bloomberg reported that Bell was pushed out in a disagreement over strategy to make way for an executive more in line with the vision of activist investor and board member Ryan Cohen.
3. -- Nvidia Slips on Data Center Growth Concerns
The stock fell more than 2% to $565.82 after Chief Financial Officer Colette Kress said on a conference call that the majority of Nvidia's growth in the current quarter would come from its gaming business, Bloomberg reported, raising concerns about slowing data center expansion.
Data center chip sales jumped 97% to $1.9 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter from a year earlier.
Nvidia also posted earnings that topped Wall Street estimates and sales that surpassed $5 billion for the first time.
Adjusted earnings in the quarter were $3.10 a share on revenue of $5.003 billion. Sales rose 61% from a year earlier.
For the fiscal first quarter, Nvidia said it expects revenue to be about $5.3 billion, higher than expectations of $4.49 billion.
"All in, these were fantastic results that were compounded by better-than-expected guidance," said Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS team, which holds Nvidia in its portfolio.
4. -- Thursday's Calendar: Salesforce, Airbnb, Beyond Meat Earnings
Earnings reports are expected Thursday from Salesforce.com (CRM) - Get Report, Best Buy (BBY) - Get Report, Wayfair (W) - Get Report, Airbnb (ABNB) - Get Report, Beyond Meat (BYND) - Get Report, Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) - Get Report, Nikola (NKLA) - Get Report, Rocket Cos. (RKT) - Get Report, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) - Get Report, Dell Technologies (DELL) - Get Report, VMware (VMW) - Get Report, Domino's Pizza (DPZ) - Get Report, ETSY (ETSY) - Get Report, First Solar (FSLR) - Get Report, Virgin Galactic (SPCE) - Get Report, HP Inc. (HPQ) - Get Report, Plug Power (PLUG) - Get Report and Moderna (MRNA) - Get Report.
The U.S. economic calendar for Thursday includes Durable Goods Orders for January at 8:30 a.m. ET, weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. and the second estimate of fourth-quarter Gross Domestic Product at 8:30 a.m. and Pending Home Sales for January at 10 a.m.
5. -- Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Highly Effective in Israel Study
The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report and its partner BioNTech (BNTX) - Get Report was highly effective at preventing the disease, according to a study that followed nearly 1.2 million people in Israel.
The research showed that two doses of the Pfizer shot prevented 94% of COVID-19 cases across all age groups.
The study also showed a single shot was 57% effective in protecting against symptomatic infections after two weeks, according to the data published and peer-reviewed in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study was conducted by the Clalit Research Institute. Teams from Harvard University also collaborated on the study.