5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday


1. Stocks set to slip after Wall Street’s Fed-driven decline

Dow futures dropped roughly 50 points Thursday, one day after the 30-stock average closed off 265 points, or nearly 0.8%, as the Federal Reserve moved up its timetable on interest rate hikes. The Dow on Wednesday afternoon had been down as much as 382 points during Fed Chairman Jerome Powell‘s post-meeting news conference, which started 30 minutes after the 2 p.m. ET release of the central bank’s policy statement and projections. Like the Dow, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq saw their lows of the day around the same time. But their lower closes were less severe. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq remained less than 1% away from Monday’s record closes. The Dow was more than 2% away from its last record close in early May.

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Source: NYSE

2. Central bankers indicate two rate hikes in 2023, no QE change

The Fed, following its two-day June meeting Wednesday, left rates unchanged and made no mention of adjusting its massive Covid-era bond-buying quantitative easing program. Looking ahead, central bankers indicated two rate hikes in 2023. In March, they had expected no rates increases until at least 2024. The Fed on Wednesday also raised its inflation expectation to 3.4%, a full percentage point higher than the March projection. The June post-meeting policy statement continued to say that inflation pressures are “transitory,” even as the most recent data on wholesale and consumers prices showed inflation surging a pace not seen in more than a decade. The 10-year Treasury yield ticked lower Thursday morning to around 1.56%. The 10-year yield Wednesday was just below 1.5% moments before the Fed announcements.

3. Powell says jobs, inflation goals happening somewhat faster

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Powell said progress toward the Fed’s dual employment and inflation goals were happening somewhat faster than expected. Central bankers raised their GDP expectations for this year to 7% from 6.5% previously. Their unemployment rate estimate remained unchanged at 4.5%. In further evidence that the resumption of business activity has helped get people back to work, the government’s latest initial jobless claims total is expected to drop to a new pandemic low of 360,000 for last week. Two weeks ago, new filings for unemployment benefits went below 400,000 for the first time since March 2020.

4. 11 Republican senators back bipartisan infrastructure plan

Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, arrives to a luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.
Sarah Silbiger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A bipartisan senators’ group working on a $1 trillion infrastructure compromise more than has doubled in size to 21 members, a key threshold giving momentum to their push as President Joe Biden returns from overseas at a pivotal time for his big legislative priority. Eleven Republicans senators joined the effort. In the evenly split Senate, conservative West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who supports the bipartisan measure, has stressed he wants to pass a package with GOP votes. Biden wants a bigger bill, more like what he put forth in his trimmed-down $1.7 billion American Jobs Plan. Leaving Geneva after Wednesday’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden said he has not seen the bipartisan bill yet, but his chief of staff believes “there’s some room” for a deal with Republicans.

5. CureVac tanks nearly 50% after disappointing Covid vaccine data

A volunteer receives a dose of CureVac vaccine or a placebo during a study by the German biotech firm CureVac as part of a testing for a new vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Brussels, Belgium March 2, 2021.
Yves Herman | Reuters

CureVac shares plunged nearly 50% in Thursday’s U.S. premarket, the morning after the German biopharma firm released disappointing preliminary results for its Covid vaccine candidate. It demonstrated an interim efficacy of 47% against the disease “of any severity,” missing the study’s main goal and throwing in doubt the potential delivery of hundreds of millions of doses to the European Union. While late-stage trials of the more than 90% effective Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were conducted when the original version of the coronavirus was dominant, real-world data has so far suggested only somewhat weaker protection against the new variants.

— The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. Follow all the market action like a pro on CNBC Pro. Get the latest on the pandemic with CNBC’s coronavirus coverage.

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