What to watch today: Wall Street under pressure heading into Friday trading

U.S. stock futures dropped Friday morning, one day after Wall Street closed higher as strength in tech stocks offset concerns about weekly initial jobless claims rising back above 1 million. The Nasdaq saw the biggest gains of over 1% and another record high. (CNBC)

The S&P 500 finished just over 4 points from Tuesday's record, which wiped out the crushing coronavirus crisis market losses that reached a pandemic low on March 23. The Dow Jones Industrial Average remained about 6% away from its Feb. 12 record closing high. (CNBC)

Shares of Tesla rose 1% in Friday's premarket trading after their first-ever close $2,000. Friday is the last day investors have to become stockholders of record before the electric auto maker's 5-for-1 stock split. The split actually happens after the close next Friday, with shares starting to trade on a split-adjusted basis on Aug. 31. (CNBC)

Apple, which briefly surpassed a $2 trillion stock market value on Wednesday, closed Thursday above that threshold and was poised to add those gains Friday. Shares in Apple's 4-for-1 stock split will be distributed to shareholders at the close Monday, with trading to begin on a split-adjusted basis on Aug. 31. (CNBC)

Deere (DE), the heavy equipment maker, reported quarterly earnings of $2.57 per share, well above estimates of $1.26 per share. Revenue also came in above forecasts. Deere raised its full-year outlook, although it said many uncertainties remain regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its business. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Joe Biden closed out this week's virtual Democratic National Convention by accepting his party's nomination and pledging to serve all Americans, even those who don't vote for him. In his speech, Biden sought to project stability, humanity and trustworthiness; qualities he portrayed as the antidote to the status quo. He never mentioned President Donald Trump by name. (CNBC)

* Here are highlights of the final night of the Democratic National Convention (CNBC)

Trump responded to Biden's speech with a tweet, claiming that "in 47 years, Joe did none of the things of which he now speaks." The virtual Republican National Convention begins Monday.

U.S.-based Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech announced they're on track to seek regulatory review of their coronavirus vaccine candidate as early as October. The drugmakers said studies are showing promising safety and immune response data. If approved, the companies plan to supply up to 100 million doses worldwide by the end of the year and about 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

* CDC chief Dr. Redfield says coronavirus deaths could start to fall next week (CNBC)
* Movie theaters reopen this weekend, but it’s unclear if audiences will return (CNBC)

ViacomCBS (VIAC) is asking about $5.5 million for a 30-second ad in next year's Super Bowl game, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The paper said the company's CBS network is also requiring ad buyers to appear in the streaming broadcast of the game at an additional cost of $200,000. Advertisers, however, are said to be asking for a way out of their commitment if the game is not played.

A California appeals court extended the length of time for Uber and Lyft to comply with an order requiring them to reclassify drivers as employees.  As a result, Uber and Lyft said they would continue operating in California during the stay after threatening to suspend service. Uber and Lyft are backing a ballot measure to exempt their drivers from the state's new labor law. (CNBC)

Major news publishers have joined a growing number of companies criticizing Apple over its App Store policies, which they argue promote anticompetitive practices. Digital Content Next, a trade body representing the likes of The New York Times, The Washington Post, News Corp and CNBC, wrote to the iPhone maker asking how its members could qualify for a special deal like one given to Amazon in 2017.

Industry executives and analysts predict another round of retail bankruptcies and liquidations could be coming if the predicted another wave of Covid-19 infections happens. Competitive pressures ahead of the holiday season could trigger a rush to bankruptcy court. (CNBC)

* Lord & Taylor is closing two dozen stores. Here’s a map of where they are (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Foot Locker (FL) earned 71 cents per share for its second quarter, beating the 57 cents a share consensus estimate. Revenue came in above forecasts amid an 18.6% gain in comparable-store sales for the athletic footwear and apparel retailer. Foot Locker also reinstated its quarterly dividend program.

Ross Stores (ROST) reported a 33% drop in sales for its fiscal second quarter, struggling with store closures and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, though revenue was better than Wall Street analysts had expected. The discount retailer said sales were better than expected when stores first reopened in May, but subsequently saw a negative impact from depleted inventory levels.

The Buckle (BKE), the accessories and footwear retailer, earned 71 cents per share for the second quarter, well above the 6 cents a share consensus estimate. Revenue also beat forecasts. Results were hurt by store closures, but the company's online sales nearly doubled during the quarter.

TD Bank (TD) was fined $122 million for its overdraft enrollment practices, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB said the bank charged consumers overdraft fees for ATM and debit card transactions without their consent.

General Electric (GE) extended the contract of CEO Larry Culp through August 2024. It also approved a new performance-based stock grant for Culp, who replaced John Flannery as CEO in 2018.

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