AMC, Bitcoin, Lordstown, Merck: What to Watch When the Stock Market Opens Today

Futures are up, reversing earlier losses to suggest Wall Street indexes could rise on their first trading day of the fourth quarter. Here’s what we’re watching ahead of Friday’s market open.

  • Theater chain and meme stock favorite AMC Entertainment  rose 1.9% premarket after announcing the repurchase of debt securities that lowered its overall interest costs.
  • Cryptocurrencies were broadly on the rise Friday, and are likely benefiting from greater optimism heading into the fourth quarter following recent rangebound trading, said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at brokerage AvaTrade. Bitcoin’s price jumped 9.1% on from its 5 p.m. ET level on Thursday. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday that the U.S. has no plans to ban cryptocurrencies, potentially adding to positive sentiment after China deemed them illegal last week. Crypto exchange Coinbase Global’s shares gained 4.2% premarket.
  • Lordstown Motors climbed 5.1% ahead of the bell. The electric-truck maker plans to sell its factory in Ohio to contract assembler Foxconn, marking a major pivot for the cash-strapped startup as it works to bring its first pickup to market.
  • Merck shares jumped 8.7%. The drugmaker and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said their experimental Covid-19 pill helped prevent high-risk people early in the course of the disease in a pivotal study from becoming seriously ill and dying. Shares of vaccine makers Moderna and Novavax dropped, by 3.7% and 5.2% respectively.
  • Jefferies Financial Group shares added 1% premarket. The financial-services company reported higher earnings in the latest quarter, lifted by an increase in revenue driven by strong investment banking activity.
  • Zoom Video Communications ‘ nearly $15 billion bid to acquire contact center company Five9  was shot down Thursday, dashing a major expansion plan for the videoconferencing powerhouse. Zoom shares gained 3.8%, Five9’s slipped 0.8%.
Chart of the Day
  • A niche corner of the cloud software market that helps companies connect with customers has produced some impressive returns for investors. Skyrocketing share prices are helping fuel a deal frenzy in the space.

Write to James Willhite at james.willhite@wsj.com