By Liz Moyer
Stocks turned higher shortly before the close, once again thanks to the tech sector, with Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) closing at a record.
Coronavirus infections continue to hit records across the U.S., prompting mayors and governors to rollback reopening plans. The U.S. has reported more than 3 million cases of the virus, and more than 131,000 dead.
On Thursday, Walgreens reports earnings. The pharmacy retailer has had to contend with big competition in both the traditional space and with online sales, and its shares have underperformed. Investors do seem interested in biotech, judging from the line-up of new stock debuts this week. And more data on unemployment could give investors some direction.
A big wave of corporate earnings is scheduled to come out next week and the week.
Here are three things that could affect stock markets tomorrow:
1. Walgreens Earnings Could Boost Underperforming Shares
The next two weeks of July will see the bulk of the big company earnings reports, many of them weighed down by the effects of business shut downs during the second quarter. But some consumer-oriented companies felt it less than others.
On Thursday, pharmacy retailer Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA) is scheduled to report, and analysts tracked by Investing.com expect profit of $1.22 a share on revenue of $34.4 billion.
Walgreens faces stiff competition in the pharmacy sector, going up against Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) as well as e-commerce behemoth Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN). Investors have worried about Walgreens' ability to compete, pushing its shares down 28% so far this year.
2. Investors Focus on Biotech
Enzo Biochem Inc (NYSE:ENZ) jumped 25% in trading on Wednesday after word of the FDA's authorization for emergency use of its Covid-19 test system. That puts the spotlight on this week's IPO calendar, which features three biotech companies. Inventiva, which is listing 7.5 million shares at a range of $14, makes a hepatitis treatment. Nkarta, a cancer drug maker, is listing 10 million shares at up to $16 each, and Poseida, which makes gene therapies, is also listing 10 million shares at up to $16.
It has been a busy calendar for initial public offerings despite the market's zigs and zags this year. Renaissance Capital counted 38 IPOs in the second quarter, raising more than $15 billion in total. That is down from 62 IPOs in the second quarter of last year, when Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE:UBER)r debuted. Healthcare was the most active sector in the three months ending in June.
3. More Unemployment Data Due Out
Also on Thursday, the weekly reading on unemployment comes out at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT). Initial jobless claims are expected to be 1.4 million, which would be about even with the prior week. Continuing jobless claims are expected to be 18.9 million, slightly down from earlier.
Jobs trends have been positive as states and cities come back from COVID lockdowns, but some areas have been forced to slow down or reverse reopenings and unemployment remains elevated, at more than 11%.