GDP and Nike — What you need to know in markets on Thursday

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

After a sell-off on Tuesday amid of a flurry of Fed headlines, stocks bounced back in a big way on Wednesday.

U.S. stocks had their best day of the month, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq logging its best day since November 7, the day before the election.

When all was said and done the Dow gained 143 points, or 0.7%, the S&P 500 gained 21 points, or 0.9%, and the Nasdaq added 87 points, or 1.4%. The small-cap Russell 2000 added 1.5% on the session.

Looking ahead to Thursday, we will get the weekly report on initial jobless claims, as is the case each Thursday, as well as the third estimate on first quarter GDP. Economists expect the economy grew at a pace of 1.2% in the first three months of the year.

After the economy grew just 1.6% in 2016 — the slowest pace since 2011 — this is certainly a disappointment to start the Trump era. The President, you’ll recall, has pledged to return the economy to 4% growth during his tenure.

But as we wrote back in April, the disappointing GDP figures to start this year — and the Trump era — aren’t all that big of a deal. For one, some economists have argued that the components which go into GDP aren’t captured well, leaving this number something to be desired when used as a comprehensive check on the economy. Additionally, the first quarter has been softer than the balance of the year for a number of years, meaning the government’s seasonal adjustment for the winter months may need tweaking.

As Ian Shepherdson, an economist at Pantheon Macro wrote in a note on Wednesday, “The third estimate of first quarter GDP growth…will not be the final word on the subject. Indeed, there never will be a final word, because the numbers are revised indefinitely into the future. No wonder the Fed prefers to look at payroll growth as a better proxy for the state of the economy; you can never be sure that the GDP numbers are reliable, especially when looking at short periods.”

Elsewhere on the slate on Thursday, we’ll get earnings out of Nike (NKE), which has seen shares significantly underperform the broader market over the last year (rising just 0.5% in the last 12 months compared to the S&P 500’s 19% gain over this period).

And as Yahoo Finance’s Dan Roberts wrote earlier this week, Nike’s share of the US athletic footwear market fell to below 35% in May, down from nearly 36% the prior year. Amid this slide, Adidas nearly doubled its share in that same period.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

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