5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday

1. Wall Street looks to extend its rebound rally to Day 3

A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York, April 16, 2021.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters

U.S. stock futures pointed to a third straight day of gains, making Monday’s major sell-off seem like a distant memory. The Dow rose another 286 points, or 0.8%, on Wednesday. Coupled with Tuesday’s 549 point gain, the 30-stock average turned positive for the week. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also gained nearly 1% on Wednesday. All three stock benchmarks, ahead of Wall Street’s open Thursday, were less than 1% from their latest record closes on July 12. Investors seem to have shaken off their immediate concerns about the spread of the delta variant and the increase in Covid cases. The 10-year Treasury yield ticked higher again Thursday to 1.3% after hitting a 5½-month low of nearly 1.13% early this week. Bond yields move in the opposite direction of bond prices.

2. Another Covid-era low expected for Initial jobless claims

Economists expect initial jobless claims of 350,000 for last week. That would be a new Covid-era low. The government is set to release its weekly claims report at 8:30 a.m. ET, one hour before the opening bell. New filings for unemployment benefits totaled 360,000 in the prior week, the best number since March 2020.

At 10 a.m. ET, The National Association of Realtors issues its June report on existing home sales. Economists expect a 2.2% increase to an annual rate of 5.93 million units. Existing home sales dropped 0.9% in May.

3. AT&T beats estimates for wireless subscriber additions on 5G demand

A pedestrian walks in front of an AT&T location in New York.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

AT&T on Thursday beat analyst estimates for monthly phone bill paying subscriber additions in the second quarter, fueled by more Americans converting to 5G. WarnerMedia, the company’s media unit, added 2.8 million U.S. subscribers for its premium channel HBO and streaming platform HBO Max during the quarter. In May, AT&T agreed to spin off and combine its media assets with Discovery in a deal expected to close in mid-2022. AT&T’s per-share earnings of 89 cents beat expectations, as did revenue of just over $44 billion. Shares rose about 1.5% in the premarket.

4. American, Southwest airlines see a huge jump in sales

An American Airlines plane lands at the Miami International Airport on June 16, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

American Airlines on Thursday posted a profit for the second quarter, getting a lift from federal aid and a surge in travel demand. The Fort Worth-based carrier reported net income of $19 million, snapping five consecutive quarters of losses. However, adjusting for one-time items, American lost $1.69 per share, less than expected. Revenue rose 360% year over year to $7.48 billion after last year’s Covid collapse. Sales still dropped 35% compared with Q2 2019.

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 jet taxis to the gate after landing at Midway International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, on April 6, 2021.
Kamil Krzaczynski | AFP | Getty Images

Southwest also reported a jump in revenue in the quarter. The Dallas-based airline’s sales rose nearly 300% from a year earlier to $4 billion. That was still down 32% from the period in 2019. Net income for the second quarter totaled $348 million, compared with a $915 million loss a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, Southwest lost 35 cents per share, more than expected. Shares of Southwest and American were lower in the premarket.

5. Fauci says vaccinated people ‘might want to consider’ masks indoors

People wearing protective masks shop in a Walmart store on May 18, 2021 in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said fully vaccinated people might want to consider wearing masks indoors as a precaution against the rapidly spreading delta variant in the U.S. Some areas of the country are reimplementing mask mandates due to spikes in cases. The more transmissible delta variant now makes up roughly 83% of sequenced Covid-19 cases in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Variants have increased in transmissibility from the original strain and some are proving to reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

— 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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