Dow 30,000, Gap, VMware, Coronavirus - 5 Things You Must Know Wednesday

Stock futures wobble, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 close at record highs; Gap sinks as sales at its namesake brand and Banana Republic slump; jobless claims and consumer sentiment data to be released Wednesday.
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Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Nov. 25:

1. -- Stock Futures Wobble After Record-Setting Day

Stock futures fluctuated Wednesday, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed at record highs and ahead of a raft of U.S. economic data including jobless claims and consumer sentiment.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 15 points, S&P 500 futures were up 3 points and Nasdaq futures rose 46 points.

Stocks finished higher Tuesday and the Dow closed above 30,000 for the first time as President-elect Joe Biden was given the go-ahead to formally begin his transition and Wall Street bet on more fiscal stimulus as reports said former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen would be nominated for Treasury secretary.

The Dow gained nearly 455 points, or 1.54%, to close 30,046. It set an intraday all-time high of 30,116. The S&P 500 also closed at a record high of 3,635, rising 1.62% on Tuesday.

“Despite the grim reality of a virus that is still raging and the lack of any meaningful additional stimulus from Congress, stock prices are moving higher as investors anticipate widespread availability of vaccines in 2021 and the prospect of a return to normalcy," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.

Stocks in Asia closed Wednesday's session mixed while European shares edged higher.

For more on Asian markets read:

China Reminds EU to Chart Its Own Course as European Leaders Reach Out to Biden

U.S. stock markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, and will close at 1 p.m. ET on Friday.

2. -- Wednesday's Calendar: Jobless Claims, GDP, Personal Income, Consumer Sentiment

The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the second estimate for third-quarter Gross Domestic Product at 8:30 a.m. ET, weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m., Durable Goods Orders for October at 8:30 a.m. and International Trade in Goods for October at 8:30 a.m. 

The calendar also includes New Home Sales for October at 10 a.m., Consumer Sentiment for November at 10 a.m., Personal Income and Outlays for October at 10 a.m., Oil Inventories for the week ended Nov. 20 at 10:30 a.m. and the minutes from the Federal Reserve's Nov. 4-5 meeting at 2 p.m.

Deere  (DE) - Get Report reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $2.39 a share, beating Wall Street expectations of $1.49. Sales in the quarter of $9.73 billion also beat forecasts.

3. -- Coronavirus: The Latest

The number of confirmed global deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, rose to 1.41 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed cases of the virus across the world have risen to 59,814,726.

The U.S. death toll is 259,962, the most in the world. The number of infected people in the U.S. was 12,597,330.

There were 169,190 new coronavirus cases in the U.S. on Tuesday and 889 deaths, according to data from the university.

California reported 16,659 cases on Monday, according to The New York Times and 17,694 the day before - well more than it or any other state had ever done before.

California’s top public health official said the daily number of Covid-19 deaths in the state could top previous highs by Christmas.

The number of Covid-19 deaths in Colorado could more than double to 6,600 by the end of the year unless the current outbreak is contained, said state epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy, Bloomberg reported.

Bars and restaurants in Pennsylvania will have to stop selling alcohol at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, an effort meant to head off pre-Thanksgiving gatherings.

4. -- Gap Sinks as Sales Slump at Namesake Brand, Banana Republic

Gap  (GPS) - Get Report was sinking in premarket trading Wednesday after sales at the retailer's namesake brand and Banana Republic dropped in the third quarter.

Gap posted an increase of 5% in comparable-store sales, beating analysts' estimates, as online sales jumped 61%.

But sales at Gap stores dropped 14% and Banana Republic sales slumped 34%.

Earnings in the quarter were 25 cents a share, below forecasts of 32 cents.

Because of pandemic-related uncertainty, Gap said it wasn't issuing a long-term forecast but did say that fourth-quarter sales would equal or be slightly higher than the year-earlier period.

Gap shares were down 11.57% to $23.76 in premarket trading Wednesday.

5. -- VMware Tops Earnings Forecasts, Lifts Guidance

VMware  (VMW) - Get Report, the cloud-computing company controlled by Dell Technologies  (DELL) - Get Report, reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and raised its full-year guidance.

VMware shares traded flat in premarket trading at $150.

Adjusted earnings in the quarter were $1.66 a share, higher than analysts' estimates of $1.44. Revenue in the period rose to $2.86 billion from $2.66 billion a year earlier and topped forecasts of $2.81 billion.

“Subscription and SaaS revenue increased 44% year over year in Q3 and surpassed license revenue for the first time,” said Zane Rowe, VMware’s chief financial officer, in a statement. Subscription and SaaS revenue was $676 million in the third quarter.

VMware lifted its outlook for the fiscal year, saying it expects adjusted earnings of $7.03 a share on revenue of $11.7 billion. Wall Street has been calling for earnings of $6.66 a share on revenue of $11.62 billion.