US equity index futures took a lead from Europe and Asia to trade higher on Wednesday, following the release of upbeat economic reports, paired with renewed hopes of a US-China trade deal, which has tempted investors into riskier assets.
American and Chinese officials negotiating a trade deal have reportedly resolved most outstanding issues, with ongoing discussions now focused on implementation and enforcement of such an agreement, the Financial Times reported late on Tuesday.
This came after White House economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, told the US Chamber of Commerce that a “larger, grander discussion” on trade was taking place with China, adding that the US expects to make “more headway” in talks with Vice Premier, Liu He, later this week in Washington.
These moves in pre-market came after yesterday’s session, where the S&P 500 chalked up a four-day winning streak, by the slimmest of margins, after gains in Real Estate (+0.64%) and Technology shares (+0.35%) were offset by a drop in Consumer Staples (-0.82%).
The benchmark S&P index ended the session just +0.05% higher, after struggling for direction through the day – while the Nasdaq Composite and Dow Jones Industrial Average were mixed, positive +0.38% and negative -0.27%, respectively.
Today’s economic calendar includes; the ADP National Employment Report for March at 8:15am EST, the PMI Services Index for March at 9:45am EST, the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index for March at 10am EST, followed by Crude Oil Inventories for the week ended March 29, at 10:30am EST.
In earnings; Acuity Brands (AYI) and Signet Jewelers (SIG) are amongst the major companies scheduled to report their latest financials today.
TODAY’S TOP HEADLINES:
China & Trade: US and China draw closer to final trade agreement. (FT)
Top US and Chinese officials have resolved most of the issues standing in the way of a deal to end their long-running trade dispute but are still haggling over how to implement and enforce the agreement, people briefed on the talks have said.
Economics & Politics: Trump to Fed Chairman Powell: ‘I Guess I’m Stuck With You’. (The WSJ)
President Trump is blaming the Federal Reserve for holding back the economy and stock market despite the central bank’s recent decision to do two things he wanted – halt rate increases and stop shrinking its asset portfolio.
Today’s Economical Announcements
08:15AM – ★★★ – ADP Nonfarm Employ. (Mar) (Previous: 183K)
09:45AM – ★★☆ – Services PMI (Mar) (Previous: 54.8)
10:00AM – ★★★ – ISM Non-Manuf. PMI (Mar) (Previous: 59.7)
10:30AM – ★★★ – Crude Oil Inventories (Previous: 2.800M)
STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks
GameStop (GME): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.60 per share, beating consensus estimates by 2 cents a share. Revenue fell short of forecasts, however, and it warned of a potential loss for the current quarter amid slowing sales.
Dave & Buster’s (PLAY): [EARNINGS] Reported quarterly profit of 75 cents per share, 12 cents a share above estimates. Revenue topped forecasts. Comparable-restaurant sales rose 2.9 percent, beating a consensus estimate of 2.1 percent.
Urban Outfitters (URBN): [UPGRADE] D.A. Davidson upgraded the apparel retailer to “buy” from “neutral,” pointing to a more focused assortment of clothing and improving fundamentals.
Grubhub (GRUB): [RATING] BTIG began coverage on the food delivery service with a “buy” rating, based on optimism about its growth in restaurant partnerships among other factors.
Intel (INTC): [NEWS] Named Qualcomm’s (QCOM) Chief Financial Officer George Davis as its new CFO. Intel CEO Bob Swan had vacated the CFO position when he was promoted to CEO at the semiconductor maker.
PG&E (PCG): [NEWS] The utility will name Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Bill Johnson as its new CEO as soon as today, according to Reuters. Separately, a judge ruled that the utility may not resume paying dividends, instead using that money to fund its plans to reduce the risk of California wildfires.
Dunkin’ Brands (DNKN): [DOWNGRADE] BMO Capital downgraded the stock to “market perform” from outperform,” saying its overall positive view on the restaurant chain remains unchanged but that the risk/reward profile is more balanced at the current stock price.
Spark Therapeutics (ONCE): [NEWS] Swiss drugmaker Roche said its planned $4.3 billion takeover of Spark is still on track, even though the deal is being scrutinized by U.S. regulators and only 29.4 percent of Spark shareholders have voted to support the deal so far.
Caterpillar (CAT): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Deutsche Bank, which sees increasing risk that backlog growth will turn negative.
Signet Jewelers (SIG): [EARNINGS] Earned an adjusted $3.96 per share for its fourth quarter, beating the consensus forecast of $3.82 a share. Revenue beat forecasts, although the same-store sales decline of 2.0 percent during the quarter was slightly larger than the 1.9 percent drop that analysts were expecting.
Blue Apron (APRN): [NEWS] CEO Bradley Dickerson is leaving the meal kit company. He’ll be succeeded by former Etsy chief operating officer Linda Koslowski. Blue Apron’s chief technology officer and co-founder Ilia Papas, will also be departing.
Cigna (CI): [NEWS] Cigna announced a program to cap insulin prices for eligible patients at $25 per 30-day prescription.
Netflix (NFLX): [NEWS] Netflix is at the center of a warning letter sent to the Motion Picture Academy by the Justice Department about a proposed rule change. The proposal would require movies to be released more widely in theaters to be eligible for the Academy Awards, which would make it more difficult for Netflix and other streaming services to win Oscars.
GAINERS: CVNA, DAL, WYNN, JBL
DECLINERS: WBA, SNH, UGI, ABC
Ruhnn Holding (RUHN) (Low: 11.50, High: 13.50) (Est. Vol: $125.0M)