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What to Watch Today: Dow Set to Open Lower After Closing Down Three Sessions in a Row

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BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were flat Thursday after the Dow and S&P 500 closed lower for the third straight session. Investors get another report on the labor market before the bell that could go into the Federal Reserve's thinking about when to start tapering Covid-era bond purchases. Rising inflation and the delta variant are also wildcards. The Nasdaq, which had been on a run of record closes, broke a four-session winning streak on Wednesday as tech stocks faltered. (CNBC)

* Six reasons why Jim Cramer is concerned about the stock market in September (CNBC)
* For CNBC Pro subscribers: September has a rough track record. These stocks do well when this month gets bumpy

Chinese stocks that trade in the U.S. were lower in premarket trading after Chinese regulators called NetEase and others for an interview to remind them of videogame restrictions on kids. In a statement, China's propaganda department, cyberspace regulator and other authorities said they would "seriously deal with" any violations of their rules. (CNBC)

The U.S. government reported Thursday 310,000 initial jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 4. That's lower than estimates and a pandemic low all the way back to the week ending March 14, 2020, when new claims totaled 256,000. That was just before Covid caused historic business closures and job losses, leading to a rush for unemployment benefits. For the week ending Aug. 28, new claims were revised higher to 345,000. (CNBC)

* European Central Bank slows its bond purchases as euro zone inflation surges (CNBC)
* Yellen urges Congress to raise debt limit, warns Pelosi about extraordinary measures running out soon (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Shares of GameStop (GME), the original meme stock, lost 7% in Thursday's premarket, the morning after the videogame retailer reported its second-quarter loss narrowed on a year-over-year basis. GameStop, whose stock was still up more than 900% in 2021, did not provide an outlook during its post-results call. The company also said the SEC has requested additional documents for a probe into GameStop and other companies' trading activity (CNBC)

Lululemon (LULU) shares soared roughly 14% in the premarket after the athletic and leisure apparel maker late Wednesday reported second-quarter profit and revenue that topped analysts' expectations. The company has benefited from consumers buying its clothes for their stay-at-home wardrobes. But now, many people are also seeking out stretchy pants and other comfort pieces for their return to the office. Lululemon offered a better-than-expected outlook. (CNBC)

United (UAL) employees granted exemptions to the company's vaccinate mandate for religious reasons will be put on temporary unpaid leave starting next month, the airline told staff Wednesday, citing the recent rise in Covid cases. United also said that if an employee's request for a religious exemption is denied, they must be vaccinated within five weeks of the denial notice and get the first shot by Sept. 27, or they will be terminated. (CNBC)

President Joe Biden on Thursday is set to outline a six-pronged federal effort to boost Covid vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant, which is killing thousands in the U.S. each week and jeopardizing the nation's economic recovery. Biden is expected to push vaccine mandates for workforces and schools. He'll talk about new ways to increase testing and promote mask requirements. The president will emphasize steps to help the economy as well as moves to improve treatment for those with Covid. (AP)

* Cleveland-Cliffs says bonuses to get Covid vaccine helped increase worker uptake (CNBC)
* Live Nation says audiences eagerly returning to live shows, even with Covid policies (CNBC)

California has become the second state in the nation, following Hawaii, to impose a Covid vaccination mandate for school staff. It comes as schools across the the state are reopening during the worrisome spread of the delta variant. (Los Angeles Times)

* Los Angeles County Board of Education considers requiring shots to eligible students for in-person learning (Deadline)

Bitcoin was steadier Thursday after Ukraine became the fifth country in as many weeks to lay down some ground rules for cryptocurrencies, a further sign governments around the world are realizing that bitcoin and other digital coins are here to stay. In a nearly unanimous vote, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted a law that legalizes and regulates crypto. The bill, set in motion in 2020, goes to the desk of Ukraine's president. (CNBC)

* El Salvador’s new bitcoin wallets could cost Western Union $400 million a year (CNBC)

Prosecutors called Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes a liar and a cheat Wednesday while her attorneys argued the company's failure was not a crime. The long-anticipated opening statement were heard during a five-hour hearing. Holmes' trial is expected to last weeks. (CNBC)

A Los Angeles megamansion once expected to list for $500 million has gone into receivership after the owner defaulted on more than $165 million in loans and debt, according to court filings. The 105,000-square-foot Bel Air estate, known as "The One," is expected to be relisted at a lower price in the coming months, according to people familiar with the property. (CNBC)

The National Football League is ready to start its 102nd season on Thursday night. The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the Dallas Cowboys. The NFL's overall opponent remains Covid, with more variants developing and fears of another wave of cases in the fall. (CNBC)

* NFL names Verizon 5G partner in 10 year deal, promising enhanced fan experiences at stadiums (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Boston Beer (SAM) tumbled 9.6% in premarket trading after the brewer of Sam Adams beer pulled previously issued financial guidance. The company said it had underestimated demand for its Truly hard seltzer brand ahead of the summer.

RH (RH) beat consensus estimates by $2.00 with adjusted quarterly earnings of $8.48 per share, and revenue above Street forecasts. The home furnishings company said it continues to see elevated demand from consumers spending more time at home. RH also raised its full-year outlook, and the stock added 2% in the premarket.

Caesars Entertainment (CZR) struck a deal to sell the non-U.S. assets of its William Hill sports betting unit to British gambling firm 888 Holdings for about $3 billion. Caesars had acquired William Hill earlier this year.

Analog Devices (ADI) Said it expected its 2020 purchase of rival semiconductor maker Maxim would add to adjusted earnings 12 months after closing, 6 months sooner than it had initially anticipated. Analog Devices also added $2.5 billion to its share repurchase program.

Warner Music Group (WMG) fell 2.1% in the premarket after StreetAccount reported that a 3.15 million share block was being shopped through Morgan Stanley.

Macy's (M) gained 1.2% in premarket trading after Cowen upgraded the retailer's stock to "outperform" from "market perform", noting better inventory and pricing management as well as a more robust digital strategy.

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