5 issues to know earlier than the inventory market opens Thursday, Might 20

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

1. U.S. stocks set to drop for a fourth straight session

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

NYSE

2. Weekly initial jobless claims hit new Covid-era low

The government Thursday reported a new Covid low for initial jobless claims. New filings for unemployment benefits came in at a lower-than-expected 444,000 last week. The prior week was revised slightly higher to 478,000.

3. Bitcoin tops $41,000 after Wednesday’s plunge

A representations of virtual currency Bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken May 19, 2021.

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

Bitcoin on Thursday topped $41,000 after the wild ride of the past day saw the world’s largest cryptocurrency tank 30% Wednesday to three-month lows near $30,000. That represented an over 50% decline from last month’s all-time high of almost $65,000. At Wednesday’s lows, the digital coin went to basically breakeven for 2021. However, it was still up more than 200% in the past 12 months. During Wednesday afternoon trading, bitcoin rebounded before pulling back later in the day and overnight.

4. Virgin Galactic jumps after next spaceflight test set for Saturday

Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft Unity fires its rocket engine and heads to space on Feb. 22, 2019.

Virgin Galactic

Shares of Virgin Galactic jumped nearly 24% in Thursday’s premarket after the space tourism firm said it’s targeting Saturday for its next spaceflight test. The company made the announcement following the completion of a maintenance review of its carrier aircraft that had threatened delays. Virgin Galactic is aiming to begin commercial service in 2022. Ahead of the premarket surge, the stock was off 27% this year and down 65% in the past three months. It saw a major leg down last week after Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest revealed her firm’s space exploration ETF had sold almost all of its Virgin Galactic stake.

5. Oatly, backed by star-studded investors, set to begin trading

A carton of Oatly brand oat milk is arranged for a photograph in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Oatly is set to debut on the Nasdaq on Thursday after pricing its initial public offering at $17 per share, the top of the expected range. The Swedish oat milk maker raised $1.4 billion, valuing the company at $10 billion. Last year, Oatly raised $200 million in a funding round led by private equity firm Blackstone, and included Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Portman, an entertainment firm founded by rapper Jay Z, and former Starbucks boss Howard Schultz.

— Reuters contributed to this report. Follow all the market action like a pro on CNBC Pro. Get the latest on the pandemic with CNBC’s coronavirus coverage.

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