Hertz, Nikola, Lyft, Unemployment Claims - 5 Things You Must Know Thursday

Stock futures fall amid continued worries over the spread of the coronavirus; U.S. jobless claims remain elevated; Hertz suspends a controversial stock sale.
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Here are five things you must know for Thursday, June 18:

1. -- Stock Futures Point Lower

Stock futures were lower Thursday as optimism over a global economic recovery remained tempered by worries over the spread of the coronavirus.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 136 points, futures for the S&P 500 declined 15 points and Nasdaq futures were down 18 points.

Investors have been weighing signs of a pick-up in the U.S. economy as states reopen and stimulus measures from governments and central banks against fears of a possible second wave of virus infections. States such as Texas, Florida and Arizona have reported a jump in new coronavirus cases.

Stocks are coming off a mixed Wednesday session with the Dow and S&P 500 ending three-day winning streaks. The Dow finished down 170 points, or 0.65%, to 26,119, the S&P 500 slipped 0.36%. The Nasdaq gained 0.15% on the strength of technology shares.

2. -- Jobless Claims Remain Elevated

The economic calendar Thursday includes weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. The number of Americans filing initial unemployment claims for the week ended June 13 is estimated at 1.22 million vs. 1.54 million the prior week.

Since lockdown measures were put in place in mid-March to control the spread of the coronavirus, 44.21 million people have filed jobless claims.

Earnings reports are expected Thursday from Kroger  (KR) - Get Report and Designer Brands  (DBI.) - Get Report

3. -- Hertz Suspends $500 Million Stock Sale

Hertz  (HTZ) - Get Report tumbled in premarket trading Thursday after suspending its planned $500 million stock sale pending a review by the Securities and Exchange Commission after the bankrupt car rental giant said the shares "could ultimately be worthless."

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton told CNBC Wednesday that the commission had "comments" about the controversial sale.

“In this particular situation we have let the company know that we have comments on their disclosure,” Clayton said. “In most cases when you let a company know that the SEC has comments on their disclosure, they do not go forward until those comments are resolved.”

In a regulatory filing, Hertz said the stock sale was “promptly suspended pending further understanding of the nature and timing of the staff’s review."

Hertz added its advisers have been in contact with the SEC officials.

The collapse in the global travel industry has overwhelmed Hertz's ability to reach long-term agreements with creditors on reduced payments, forcing the company to seek protection from creditors under the bankruptcy laws.

The stock fell 8% to $1.84 in premarket trading.

4. -- Nikola CEO Says He 'Never Deceived Anyone'

Trevor Milton, founder of electric truck maker Nikola  (NKLA) - Get Report, exaggerated the readiness of the Nikola One, its debut truck, according to a report.

Despite claims in a 2016 public unveiling that a Nikola One prototype was driveable, the model lacked key components and was inoperable, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with Nikola One's capabilities.

Nikola expects the Nikola One, an electric semi truck, to begin production next year.

Milton told Bloomberg on Wednesday that parts had been removed from the vehicle for safety reasons but that he "never deceived anyone.”

Nikola went public earlier in June by way of a $3.3 billion merger  with VectoIQ, a special-purpose acquisition firm created by former General Motors Vice Chairman Steve Girsky.

Since that deal, Nikola shares have skyrocketed nearly 80% amid optimism that the electric truck maker could be the next automotive disruptor in the vein of Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report.

Nikola shares fell 1.67% to $62.99 in premarket trading. 

Cowen initiated coverage of the stock Wednesday with an outperform rating and a $79 price target.

5. -- Lyft to Go All-Electric by 2030 

Lyft  (LYFT) - Get Report pledged that it will be going all-electric by 2030.

The ride-hailing company said all the cars deployed in its system will be electric or zero-emissions in the next 10 years.

"Now more than ever, we need to work together to create cleaner, healthier and more equitable communities," said Lyft co-founder and President John Zimmer, in a blog post. “Success breeds success, and if we do this right, it creates a path for others. If other rideshare and delivery companies, automakers and rental car companies make this shift, it can be the catalyst for transforming transportation as a whole.”