By Paul J. Davies 

Here's what we're watching ahead of Thursday's opening bell.

-- S&P 500 futures gained 0.2%, potentially extending Wednesday's advance, which lifted the index to its second-highest level in history. Futures linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3%. Read our full market wrap here.

What's Coming Up

-- President-elect Joe Biden is due to give a speech outlining the scale of his proposed spending package to support households and businesses through the pandemic.

-- Progress Software will deliver its latest quarterly results after the close.

-- Weekly new jobless claims out this morning are expected to still be high with accelerating Covid-19 cases leading to more restrictions. Forecasts for 800,000 new claims would be slightly above last week's 787,000.

Market Movers to Watch

-- Tesla shares slipped 0.8% ahead of the bell. On Wednesday, while Elon Musk was tweeting about sea shanties and Starship engine tests, U.S. safety regulators demanded a recall of nearly 160,000 Tesla cars. Model S and Model X touch screens can fail after a few years of use, affecting some safety functions.

-- BlackRock stock is up 1.1% after the money-management giant said fourth-quarter profits were up by almost a fifth, which beat expectations.

-- Intel is posting more gains premarket, up 2.3%, after its 7% jump on Wednesday. The chip maker booted Bob Swan out as chief executive after activist hedge fund Third Point demanded changes. He'll be replaced by Pat Gelsinger, chief at VMware.

-- KLA, a $45 billion industrial-electronics firm, is up 3.4% premarket, leading gainers on Thursday and extending a 12% rally since the start of 2021.

-- Delta Air Lines rose 1.4% premarket despite reporting a loss for 2020 of $12.5 billion, its worst ever year. Chief Executive Ed Bastian said the pandemic was in its worst phase but he hoped to see a recovery in air traffic this year. Delta expects to burn through $10 million to $15 million cash a day in the first quarter, but said it had plenty of funding.

-- Deere shares gained 0.8% premarket. Investors hope an economic recovery driven by Covid-19 vaccines and government largess will boost cyclical stocks. The tractor maker is also up 12% so far this year.

Market Fact

Gasoline prices rose 8.4% in December, accounting for more than 60% of the overall increase in consumer prices for the month, according to the Labor Department.

Chart of the Day

When lenders start reporting fourth-quarter earnings this week, investors will want to know if they should expect another whiplash kind of year.

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 14, 2021 08:16 ET (13:16 GMT)

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