Stock Market Today – 8/5: Stocks Flat as Investors Await July Employment Data

U.S. stock-index futures were little changed on Friday ahead of key employment numbers that will provide further clarity on the direction of the economy and whether the Federal Reserve’s inflation-fighting rate hikes are impacting corporate hiring plans.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 0.32%, or 105 points higher, while S&P 500 futures dipped 0.21% and Nasdaq 100 futures were flat.

U.S. government debt prices traded lower Friday morning ahead of fresh jobs data. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.6809% and the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond moved higher to 2.9638%. Yields move inversely to prices.

A key focus for investors ahead of the open is July’s nonfarm payrolls report, which investors hope will provide additional clues on how the labor market is holding up to the Fed’s recent inflation-fighting rate increases and corresponding slowing growth.

Analysts polled by FactSet are expecting 258,000 new jobs were added to the economy last month following June’s 372,000 gain.

Market-watchers are looking for signs that the U.S. labor market, which has remained resilient despite rising rates and a corresponding slowdown in economic growth, will allow the Fed to ease back on its aggressive interest-rate increases.

Still, companies including Walmart (WMT) – Get Walmart Inc. Report, Amazon (AMZN) – Get Amazon.com Inc. Report, Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report and Robinhood (HOOD) – Get Robinhood Markets Inc. Report have already planned layoffs, and economists expect to see more job losses from companies in construction, technology, retail and finance, among others.

Inflation continued to soar in June, with the consumer price index jumping 9.1%. But economists expect inflation has peaked, and are now awaiting signs that job growth now may have as well.

Ahead of Friday’s market open, shares of Virgin Galactic  (SPCE) – Get Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. Report were down nearly 10% in premarket trading after the space tourism company said it has postponed the beginning of its commercial flights by another three months, citing delays in work refurbishing its carrier aircraft.

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Virgin Galactic announced that commercial service is being pushed back to the second quarter of 2023, the latest setback for the debut of its space tourism business. The company had previously pushed back the date from the fourth quarter of this year to the first quarter of next year.

AMC Entertainment (AMC) – Get AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Class A Report stock, meantime, was down more than 10% after the meme stock mascot announced a special dividend in the form of “Ape” preferred shares.

AMC said it will issue a special dividend of one AMC Preferred Equity unit for each share of AMC Class A common stock with a par value $0.01 per share, outstanding at the close of business on Aug. 15. The special dividend is expected to be paid at the close of business on Aug. 19.

AMC has applied to list its AMC Preferred Equity Units on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “APE,” starting Aug. 22. The symbol is a nod to the investors who turned the company into a meme stock, who often refer to themselves as “apes” or “ape nation.”

Warner Bros. Discovery  (WBD) – Get Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. Report shares were down more than 10% after the media giant said it swung to a loss in its first earnings report as a combined entity since Discovery’s merger with AT&T’s WarnerMedia earlier this year. 

On the flip side, shares of Lyft  (LYFT) – Get Lyft Inc. Report were up more than 12% after the ride-sharing Uber competitor reported stronger-than-expected second-quarter adjusted operating results thanks to cost-cutting and belt-tightening.

Lyft on Thursday posted a second-quarter adjusted operating profit of $79.1 million, well ahead of its own projection three months ago and Wall Street’s forecasts. Lyft still posted a wider net loss at $377.2 million compared with the year prior.

DoorDash  (DASH) – Get DoorDash Inc. Class A Report shares, meanwhile, were up more than TK% in in premarket after the delivery app company posted higher revenue in the latest quarter, as consumers stuck to ordering food and household essentials despite restaurant and store re-openings.

DoorDash also raised guidance for the year on the total value of orders placed on its platform, even though it said it expects “a softer consumer spending environment” in the second half of the year.

Carvana  (CVNA) – Get Carvana Co. Class A Report shares were up nearly 9% after the online used-car dealer said it is aggressively cutting costs as demand from consumers remains under pressure and the company faces the prospect of an economic downturn.

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