By Paul J. Davies 

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

-- S&P 500 futures gained 0.1%, 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.

-- Weekly new jobless claims showed another big rise, exceeding forecasts amid accelerating Covid-19 cases and restrictions on business. New claims were 965,000 in the week of Jan. 9, much higher than the 800,000 forecast and ahead of last week's 784,000, which was revised down slightly.

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.

Market Movers to Watch

-- GameStop shares surged 18% premarket, a day after its shares closed more than 57% higher. Some analysts said Wednesday that the stock's recovery had created a so-called short squeeze that drove share prices sharply higher.

-- Tesla shares slipped 1.3% 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.

-- Apache leapt 2.6% premarket after announcing a fourth oil discovery in its offshore field near Suriname on the northeast coast of South America.

-- BlackRock stock reversed earlier gains to fall 3.6% 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 2.5%, 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 3.5% premarket, extending a 12% rally since the start of 2021.

-- Delta Air Lines rose 2.8% 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.

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 09:20 ET (14:20 GMT)

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