U.S. stock futures were pointing to further gains at Friday's open, with the S&P 500 soaring 6.5% so far this month and heading for its best August since 1986. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average continued their summer rallies Thursday on the Federal Reserve's announcement of a new inflation strategy that could keep interest rates lower for longer.
The S&P 500 closed at another record high, though below the best levels of the day, which saw the index top 3,500 for the first time ever. The Dow closed higher but off the day's highs, which saw blue chips turn briefly positive for 2020. The Dow has been the laggard on Wall Street, still about 3.5% away from its Feb. 12 record highs. The Nasdaq hit another all-time during Thursday's session but closed modestly lower.
Dow stock Coca-Cola was higher in the premarket after the beverage giant announced Friday morning a restructuring plan, which will include voluntary job cuts. Coca-Cola will offer buyouts, starting with about 4,000 workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico who were hired on or before Sept. 1, 2017. The company estimates that the severance program will cost between $350 million and $550 million.
Shares of Tesla, astonishingly up 435% in 2020, were higher in premarket trading after closing higher at $2,238. Tesla's 5-for-1 stock split happens after Friday's close, with shares starting to trade on a split-adjusted basis Monday.
2. Trump rips Biden; Harris rips Trump
Painting a picture of the horrors that he claims would await America if Democrat Joe Biden were to win in November, President Donald Trump capped the 2020 Republican National Convention on Thursday night by accepting his party's presidential nomination for the second time. In an over 70-minute speech from the White House South Lawn, before hundreds of in-person supporters, Trump blasted Joe Biden, saying that electing his rival would lead to an economic collapse and violence in American cities.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, speaking before Trump's address, said the president failed to protect Americans from the coronavirus pandemic. She charged that Trump "caved" when he needed "to be tough" over China's refusal to share information about the virus months ago. In contrast, Harris said that Biden "sounded the alarm" about Covid-19.
3. Abe resigns as Japan's longest-serving prime minister
Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest-serving prime minister, confirmed Friday that he will step down due worsening health, bringing an early end to his leadership of the world's third-largest economy. Abe, who suffers from a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, said he did not want his illness to result in any policy mistakes. Abe said he would fulfill his duties as prime minister until the next leader is appointed. His current term was not due to end until September 2021. Ahead of the official announcement, Japan's Nikkei stock index closed 1.4% lower as speculation of Abe's resignation was swirling in the market.
4. Inside the Microsoft-Walmart bid to buy TikTok
Walmart and Microsoft might seem like an unlikely partnership to acquire TikTok's U.S. assets, but until very recently the retailer had other plans. Walmart was originally in a consortium with Google-parent Alphabet before switching in recent days to partner with Microsoft. TikTok is set to choose between the Microsoft-Walmart offer and a bid from Oracle in the next couple of days. Earlier this month, citing national security concerns, Trump signed an executive order, requiring China-based parent ByteDance to sell or spin off its U.S. TikTok business.
5. Gulf Coast oil operations escape worst damage
The heart of the U.S. oil industry in Louisiana and Texas appears to have avoided the worst of Laura, which caused devastation along the Gulf Coast when it came ashore as a powerful Category 4 hurricane early Thursday. Forecasters are warning of new dangers as tropical weather blows toward the Eastern Seaboard this weekend. A weakened-Laura is expected to spawn more tornadoes and bring heavy rain to the Tennessee Valley region before moving on to the Mid-Atlantic states by Saturday.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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