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5 Things to Know Before the Stock Market Opens Thursday

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

Here's the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:

1. Stocks set to open lower after Wednesday's drop from record highs

U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open, with investors watching Thursday's FDA meeting on Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine and continued talks in Washington around reaching coronavirus stimulus and government funding deals. The Nasdaq led Wednesday's losses on Wall Street, with a nearly 2% drop as tech stocks sank. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also came under pressure but saw much smaller declines. All three benchmarks, however, did advance earlier in Wednesday's session, hitting new all-time intraday highs. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all logged record closes Tuesday.

The Labor Department on Thursday reported a much larger than expected 853,000 new filings for unemployment benefits for the week ended Dec. 5, compared with the upwardly revised 716,000 the prior week, which was the lowest total of the coronavirus era. However, initial jobless claims have been running well above record levels seen before the pandemic.

2. FDA panel meets to consider Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine

A person wearing a protective face mask walks past the Pfizer Inc. headquarters on December 9, 2020 in New York City.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images
A person wearing a protective face mask walks past the Pfizer Inc. headquarters on December 9, 2020 in New York City.

The Covid-19 vaccine developed by American drug giant Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech faces a final hurdle to emergency use authorization in the United States on Thursday, when the FDA's vaccine advisory panel meets. Consideration of Pfizer's vaccine comes as the U.S. saw a record 3,124 deaths Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The vaccine was cleared for emergency use in the U.K. last week and rolled out there Tuesday. However, the two allergic reactions reported by U.K. health-care workers prompted British regulators to advise people with a history of "significant" allergic reactions to forgo the shot for now. The FDA will likely scrutinize these reactions as it weighs emergency use in the U.S.

The FDA is scheduled to consider the Covid-19 vaccine candidate from U.S.-based Moderna next week.

3. Senate to consider funding extension as Covid-19 aid talks continue

The U.S. Capitol Building following a rainstorm on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 4, 2020.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
The U.S. Capitol Building following a rainstorm on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 4, 2020.

A one-week federal government funding extension that passed the House on Wednesday goes to the Senate, where it could come up for a vote as soon as Thursday. The government will shut down Saturday if Capitol Hill fails to pass the stopgap measure. Lawmakers are trying to buy more time to reach a broad spending deal and a coronavirus relief package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have said they want to attach pandemic aid to the full-year funding bill.

4. Airbnb stock set to debut a day after DoorDash's sizzling IPO

Brian Chesky, chief executive officer and co-founder of Airbnb Inc., speaks during an Economic Club of New York luncheon at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Monday, March 13, 2017.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Brian Chesky, chief executive officer and co-founder of Airbnb Inc., speaks during an Economic Club of New York luncheon at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Monday, March 13, 2017.

Airbnb is set to debut as a public stock Thursday on Wall Street, one day after the online marketplace for home rentals priced its initial public offering at $68 per share. That was above the most recent expected per-share range of $56 to $60, valuing the company at about $47.3 billon.

The New York Stock Exchange welcomes executives and guests of DoorDash, Inc. (NYSE: DASH), today, Wednesday, December 9, 2020, in celebration of its Initial Public Offering.
NYSE
The New York Stock Exchange welcomes executives and guests of DoorDash, Inc. (NYSE: DASH), today, Wednesday, December 9, 2020, in celebration of its Initial Public Offering.

Airbnb's IPO follows the huge market debut of DoorDash. Shares of the food delivery service were under some pressure in premarket trading after skyrocketing more than 85% on Wednesday. The closing price values DoorDash at $60.2 billion, about 10 times larger than stock market rival GrubHub.

5. FTC, states file antitrust lawsuits against Facebook

A giant digital sign is seen at Facebook's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California, on October 23, 2019.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images
A giant digital sign is seen at Facebook's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California, on October 23, 2019.

Shares of Facebook fell 1% in premarket trading after closing nearly 2% lower on Wednesday's announcement from the FTC and a coalition of attorneys general from 48 states and territories of two separate antitrust lawsuits against the social network. The legal actions target two of Facebook's major acquisitions, Instagram and WhatsApp, and seek remedies for the alleged anti-competitive conduct that could result in the divestitures of the two apps. Facebook pushed back against the lawsuits, calling them "revisionist history" of two major acquisitions the government approved several years ago.

— Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real time with CNBC Pro's live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.

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