Here are the top news, trends, and analysis that investors need to get their trading day started:
1. Dow will rise after closing above 34,000 for the first time
People walk past the New York Stock Exchange in New York City on April 15, 2021.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
2. Housing construction is likely to have been strong in March
Contractors install floor joists on the foundation of a home under construction in Lehi, Utah, December 16, 2020.
George Frey | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Thursday’s March retail sales helped raise stocks – and on Friday, investors get a glimpse of the glowing housing market at 8:30 a.m. ET. The commercial department is expected to release March housing start and building permit numbers. After the decline of 10.3% in February, new construction is expected to grow by 14%. Permits are up 4% after falling 10.8% in February. Home builders have been ramping up production recently, and new government covid incentives could fuel that trend.
3. The Chinese economy grew 18.3% in Covid in the first quarter
China reported gross domestic product slightly below expectations in the first quarter as industrial production disappointed but retail sales exceeded estimates. The GDP rose in the first three months of the year by 18.3% compared to the previous year, the Chinese statistical office announced on Friday. In the first quarter of last year, the economy contracted 6.8% – during the peak of the domestic Covid outbreak.
4. WHO chief: Covid case rate is approaching the highest level ever
A physical therapist fits an oxygen mask on a patient with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the intensive care unit of the Parelheiros Municipal Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 8, 2021.
Amanda Perobelli | Reuters
The head of the World Health Organization said on Friday that an alarming trend of rising Covid cases had caused infections around the world to reach their highest ever level. In the US, weekly cases are well below their all-time highs, but are in line with levels seen during the summer surge. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, said people will likely need a booster dose of a Covid vaccine within 12 months of being fully vaccinated. Bourla said it is possible that annual vaccinations against the coronavirus will also be necessary.
5. The death of a gunman shoots at least 8 people in the FedEx facility in Indianapolis and kills himself
At least eight people died after a gunman opened fire at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis late Thursday and then killed himself, city police said. FedEx said in a statement: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our team members. … We are fully cooperating with law enforcement agencies.” Last week, President Joe Biden announced a series of executive measures aimed at tackling what he calls the national gun violence epidemic. In March alone, 18 people were killed in two mass shootings in the Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado area.
– NBC News contributed to this report. Follow all market action like a pro on CNBC Pro. Get the latest information on the pandemic on CNBC’s coronavirus blog.