5 issues to know earlier than the inventory market opens Thursday, Aug. 12

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

1. Stock futures are flat the day after the S&P 500 and Dow posted new records

People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City on August 10, 2021.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

US stock futures were barely changed on Thursday after another record-breaking session for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. S&P 500 futures rose marginally while Dow futures climbed 40 points, or 0.1%. The Nasdaq 100 futures also rose slightly. The S&P 500 and Dow closed on new all-time highs on Wednesday after investors shrugged at the latest readings for the US consumer price index. The index rose 5.4% year over year, which was roughly in line with expectations.

2. US unemployment claims, wholesale price data ahead

A chef interviews a job seeker about hospitality employment during a job fair on June 23, 2021 in Torrance, California.

PATRICK T. FALLON | AFP | Getty Images

The weekly US jobless claims data is due to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect 375,000 first-time applicants last week. That would be a decrease from a pandemic-era low of 385,000 the previous week.

The latest reading for the producer price index – which measures wholesale prices – will also be released on Thursday morning. Economists expect the index to have risen 0.6% in July. Investors see the PPI as another indicator of inflation. If the index, along with the claims numbers, turns out stronger than expected, it could fuel the debate about when the Federal Reserve could begin to curb its massive monetary stimulus programs.

3. Alaska Air is considering Covid vaccine mandates for employees

A Boeing Co. 737-9 aircraft during a Boeing Co. ecoDemonstrator program tour at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, the United States, on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Alaska Airlines is considering making Covid vaccinations mandatory for employees, according to a company memo viewed by CNBC. The airline said if it made vaccines mandatory for its employees, it would do so after the Food and Drug Administration fully approved the vaccinations currently available. This policy change would make the airline the newest airline to require its employees to be vaccinated. United Airlines was the first major airline to do this last week.

4. Give Fed Chairman Powell “the benefit of the doubt” on inflation, Cramer says

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing of the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Selection Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington, United States, on June 22, 2021.

Graeme Jennings | Reuters

CNBC’s Jim Cramer urged investors to support the monetary policy approach of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as inflationary pressures mount. “I say, give Jay Powell the benefit of the doubt. He has been right like rain since the beginning of the pandemic. His critics have been completely wrong for ages,” said Cramer on Wednesday at “Mad Money”. “Powell insisted that we have to wait and see what happens to the Delta option before raising or even lowering rates.” Cramer also said the recent surge in inflation could be temporary.

5. Messi is partially paid in crypto

The Qatari President of Paris Saint-Germain, Nasser Al-Khelaifi (L) and the sporting director of Paris Saint-Germain, Leonardo Nascimento de Araujo (R), pose next to the Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi (C) while he is during a press Shirt with the number 30 held up August 2021 in the Parc des Princes stadium of the French football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in Paris.

Stephane De Sakutin | AFP | Getty Images

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