5 things to know before the stock market opens Thursday

Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:

  • S&P 500 set to drop after inching back towards a record
  • Trio of reports to provide more insight into the economic recovery
  • Meme stock rally set to pause after a month of comeback gains
  • Round 2 for bank CEOs after fireworks at Wednesday's hearing
  • Biden orders closer review of Covid origins including possible Wuhan lab leak

1. S&P 500 set to drop after inching back towards a record

U.S. stock futures were mostly lower Thursday and the 10-year Treasury yield was steady just under 1.6% ahead of a burst of morning economic data. The market saw modest gains Wednesday, supported by stocks tied to the economic reopening. The S&P 500 ended less than 1% away from its May 7 record close. With two trading days left in the week and in May, the Nasdaq was up nearly 2% for the week but down 1.6% for the month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were both up for the week and the month.

2. Trio of reports to provide more insight into the economic recovery

The government is set to issue three key economic reports at 8:30 a.m. ET, one hour before the opening bell on Wall Street.

  • Economists expect initial jobless claims for last week to drop to 425,000, another pandemic-era low, compared to 444,000 new filings for unemployment benefits the prior week.
  • The second estimate of first-quarter gross domestic product is expected to be revised slightly higher to an annual growth rate of 6.6%.
  • Forecasts for April durable goods orders call for a 0.9% increase following a March gain of 1%.

3. Meme stock rally set to pause after a month of comeback gains

This week's meme stock rally was set to take pause Thursday. Shares of GameStop and AMC Entertainment, both popular with the Reddit crowd, were under pressure in the premarket. However, GameStop surged nearly 16% on Wednesday alone and almost 44% in the past month. AMC soared 19% on Wednesday and 70% over the past month. So far in 2021, after seeing epic short-squeeze rallies in January, GameStop was up nearly 1,200%. AMC was up 822% year-to-date. Strategists attribute the recent run-up in these stocks to being oversold.

4. Round 2 for bank CEOs after fireworks at Wednesday's hearing

Major bank CEOs are set to face a second round of grilling by lawmakers Thursday as they testify before the House Financial Services Committee. There were fireworks at the Senate Banking Committee's hearing Wednesday when progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren went after JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon. The Massachusetts Democrat called Dimon out over the bank's haul of nearly $1.5 billion in overdraft fees last year as borrowers struggled during Covid lockdowns. Dimon said JPMorgan waived overdraft fees for customers who requested relief. When asked whether the bank would refund the fees to those who didn't, Dimon said, "No."

5. Biden orders closer review of Covid origins including possible Wuhan lab leak

President Joe Biden has ordered a closer intelligence review of what he said were two equally plausible scenarios of the origins of the coronavirus. Biden revealed that earlier this year, he asked the intelligence community to assess "whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal, or from a laboratory accident." The hypothesis that the virus may have escaped from a Chinese lab has gained more mainstream traction in recent months. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in Senate testimony last week that a lab-leak origin was "one possibility." China has dismissed the lab theory.

— 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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