US Index Futures operated higher on Wednesday, with investor expectations that US consumer inflation will reach the lowest level since 2021.

By 07:01 AM, Dow Jones (DOWI:DJI) futures were up 28 points, or 0.08%. S&P 500 futures were up 0.16%, while Nasdaq-100 futures were up 0.19%. The 10-year Treasury yield is currently at 3.95%.

On Wednesday’s American economic agenda, the president of the Richmond Fed, Thomas Barkin, will talk about inflation at 8:30 am. At the same time, the CPI report for June and the CPI core will be released.

At 09:45 am, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane will speak on a panel.

At 10:30 am, oil inventories for the week up to 7/7 will be released.

At 1:00 pm, the president of the Fed of Atlanta, Raphael Bostic, will participate in an institutional event. At the same time, the US government will hold another Treasury auction. However, this time, the offer’s target bonds are 10-year bonds. This Tuesday, the government placed US$ 40 billion in three-year bond auctions, with a cut rate of 4.534%.

At 2:00 pm, the Fed will release the Beige Book, and the Senate Banking Committee will vote on nominees Philip Jefferson, Lisa Cook, and Adriana Kugler for the council. At 4 pm, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will join the panel.

European markets are also trading higher. A highlight is the report from the central bank of England, released before the market open, which states that British banks are robust enough to support households and companies during the financial squeeze.

Elsewhere in commodities markets, West Texas Intermediate crude for August was up 0.19% at $74.97 a barrel. Brent crudes for September are up 0.04% near $79.43 a barrel. Iron ore futures traded in Dalian, China, followed the movement seen yesterday and rose 2.6%, to US$114.69 per tonne, reflecting the expectation of stimuli from the Chinese government to the sectors.

By Tuesday’s close, international markets posted modest gains boosted by Chinese media reports of new stimulus and expectations of a weaker consumer price index (CPI) today. The Dow Jones jumped 317.02 points or 0.93% to 34,261.42 points. The S&P 500 rose 29.73 points or 0.67% to 4,439.26 points. The Nasdaq Composite rose 75.22 points or 0.55% to 13,760.70 points. Chinese media have released a series of articles suggesting that the government is preparing to implement additional measures to support the Chinese real estate and business sector as a whole. These measures were well received in the West after markets opened on Tuesday, resulting in gains in European and US stocks.

The second-quarter US corporate earnings season kicks off this week, with PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) and  Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) on Thursday, and  major banks such as JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) presenting its financial numbers on Friday. 

Wall Street Corporate Highlights for Today

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) – Microsoft has overcome obstacles in its purchase of Activision Blizzard, with a US judge approving the $69 billion deal and the UK regulator reconsidering its opposition. The US FTC has until Friday to appeal.

VMware (NYSE:VMW),  Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO) – Broadcom is expected to receive conditional EU antitrust approval for its proposed acquisition of VMware on Wednesday. The company addressed concerns by offering an interoperability brokerage to  Marvell Technology (NASDAQ:MRVL). The deal is still under scrutiny by authorities in the US and UK.

IBM (NYSE:IBM) – IBM is considering using its own artificial intelligence chips to lower the operating costs of its cloud computing service. The company plans to use the AI ​​chip called the Artificial Intelligence Unit in its new “watsonx” cloud service. IBM hopes to solve past challenges, such as high costs, with the energy efficiency of its own chips. The chip is manufactured by Samsung Electronics and IBM already has working prototypes. The focus is on the inference phase rather than training the AI ​​systems.

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) – Amazon is contesting its inclusion as a very large online platform under EU online content rules. The company has filed a challenge at the General Court in Luxembourg claiming that it does not fall into that category. The outcome of the case could influence other tech giants. In other news, Amazon’s cloud division is looking to differentiate itself from competitors in artificial intelligence through competitive pricing, leveraging its own chips and reducing computing costs. The company is focused on offering a more affordable solution and highlights its approach towards data privacy and accuracy.

Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) – Arm is seeking Nvidia as a key investor in its planned initial public offering (IPO) as it moves towards becoming a key part of the growth of artificial intelligence. Valuation discussions are ongoing, with Nvidia seeking a smaller stake than Arm wants. Japanese firm SoftBank, which bought Arm in 2016, is seeking to reduce its stake through the IPO. Both Arm and Nvidia are in contact with US regulators regarding this significant investment.

Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) – Google has shut down an artificial intelligence chatbot aimed at Gen Z. The project, called “Bubble Characters,” has been deprioritized in favor of work on Bard. It’s not clear if concerns about the safety of children were a factor. Google continues to develop other projects, including a medical chatbot. In other news, the work of external contractors at companies like Appen and Accenture (NYSE:ACN) is crucial to the quality of responses from the Bard AI chatbot powered by Google. These workers are responsible for reviewing and improving responses, but they face precarious conditions and tight deadlines. Google relies on these evaluators to improve its AI, but workers have raised concerns about their workload and inadequate pay. The company is focused on pushing AI forward, but contractors are unhappy with their working conditions.

Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) – Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, stated that the site is not geared towards politics or hard news. However, if regulators challenge the Threads app on antitrust concerns, political concerns are inevitable. The FTC is focused on making it easy to unsubscribe, and the difficulty of deleting a Threads account may attract their attention. In addition, Meta’s data collection policies are under scrutiny. The FTC is looking into Meta’s market share in the social media industry, but it’s still unclear whether Threads poses an antitrust problem. Regulators will watch the platform before taking any action, which is likely to come within the next year.

Alphabet , Meta — Senator Elizabeth Warren and a group of lawmakers are pushing the Biden administration to investigate illegal sharing of customer data by tax preparation software companies with Google and Meta. They allege that tax preparation companies and technology platforms have been negligent in protecting taxpayers’ sensitive information. Lawmakers called for legal and policy action to prevent future incidents.

Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) – Salesforce announced a 9% average price increase for some of its cloud and marketing tools, marking its first increase in seven years. The company has invested significantly in research and development, including generative artificial intelligence capabilities. The increase comes at a time when revenue growth for cloud services is slowing and customers are looking to optimize their spending. The new prices will apply to new and existing customers.

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) – Applied Materials has released the Vistara system, its first major upgrade in over a decade, to improve chip manufacturing. The system allows greater flexibility, combination of vacuum chambers and data analysis through artificial intelligence to reduce energy consumption. Vistara has already shipped to memory chip makers and has attracted interest from computer chip makers.

Shutterstock (NYSE:SSTK) – Shares of Shutterstock were up 9.1% on Tuesday after expanding their partnership with OpenAI. The photo repository company has signed a new six-year agreement to provide high-quality training data for OpenAI models, cementing its position as a leading provider in this industry.

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) – Walt Disney is considering selling or finding a partner for its TV and digital businesses in India. Discussions are at an early stage and there are no potential buyers or partners yet. The company faces competitive pressure from Reliance Industries’ JioCinema platform.

Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU), Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) – Shares of Roku closed up 11.4% on Tuesday after announcing a partnership with Shopify to enable direct TV purchases. Viewers will be able to purchase advertised items by pressing “OK” on the Roku remote using the Roku Pay payment platform. The partnership aims to boost direct-to-consumer e-commerce.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) – Bank of America has agreed to pay $250 million in fines and damages to settle allegations of double fee charges, withholding credit card benefits and unauthorized account opening by customers. The bank also agreed to refund $100 million to affected consumers.

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) – JPMorgan Chase plans to lay off 63 employees in Jersey City, New Jersey, in September, according to an issued notice. The bank said it is working to relocate the affected employees and has 560 vacancies open in the region. The move is part of a regular review and previous layoffs have taken place across multiple departments.

SoFi Technologies (NASDAQ:SOFI) – SoFi Technologies CEO Anthony Noto has expressed confidence that his company will become one of the top 10 financial institutions in the country. While the company’s stock has risen significantly this year, it’s still below its debut price. Noto sees strong growth ahead, focusing on high-income customers. The company is also exploring the use of artificial intelligence to improve its products and services.

Merrill Lynch (NYSE:PYT) – Merrill Lynch was fined $12 million by regulators for failing to report about 1,500 suspicious activities over more than a decade. The brokerage used a limit of $25,000 for reports instead of the required amount of $5,000. Merrill Lynch agreed to pay $6 million to settle the SEC’s charges and received an additional $6 million fine from FINRA. The company said it has improved its processes and training in response to the case.

Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) – Cboe Global Markets modified applications to list and trade shares of bitcoin funds, including one from Fidelity, with Coinbase surveillance sharing agreements. The SEC has rejected bitcoin ETFs in the past, but including the deals could help meet regulatory standards. Coinbase is contesting an SEC lawsuit. In other news, ARK Innovation ETF (AMEX:ARKK), a fund led by Cathie Wood, has sold 132,152 shares of Coinbase amid the cryptocurrency exchange’s stock price surge. Those shares were worth about $11.8 million. The sale represents just a small portion of the fund’s total stake in Coinbase.

Dynasty Gold (TSXV:DYG), Nike (NYSE:NKE) – Nike Canada and Dynasty Gold are under investigation in Canada for allegedly using or benefiting from forced labor in their China operations. The investigations were initiated following complaints filed by a coalition of civil society organizations. This is the first investigation of its kind launched by the Canadian agency responsible for corporate ethics. The other complaints are still being evaluated. Both Nike Canada and Dynasty Gold deny the allegations.

Coty (NYSE:COTY) – Kim Kardashian is in talks to buy back her minority stake in SKKN By Kim, the beauty company she sold to Coty three years ago, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) – Shopify Inc. launched a cost calculator built into its calendar app to cut down on unnecessary meetings. The tool estimates the value of each meeting based on duration and number of participants. The company hopes to cut thousands of hours of meetings and encourage a change in mindset. The average time spent in meetings per employee has already decreased by 14%.

Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) – Buy Buy Baby stores are on the verge of closing after a final effort to save the chain fails. Go Global Retail, which owns Janie and Jack, was looking to buy Bed Bath & Beyond but has not reached a valuation agreement with Bed Bath & Beyond’s main lender. Dream on Me Industries acquired Buy Buy Baby’s assets in an auction. The sale disappointed observers, including the judge who oversaw the bankruptcy process.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) – Texas has again postponed a vote on federally funded grants for electric vehicle chargers due to resistance from some charging companies to include Tesla’s standard. The vote is seen as a precedent for other states, such as Washington and Kentucky, which are also considering similar measures. The adoption of Tesla’s technology by automakers such as Ford and General Motors has influenced other companies to adopt the standard.

Faraday Future (NASDAQ:FFIE) – Faraday Future announced the resignation of its interim chief finance officer and disclosed errors in its financial statements for 2022 and the quarter ended March 2023. The company has appointed a new interim chief financial officer and will provide updated statements. Faraday Future faces cash issues and governance disputes.

Ford Motor (NYSE:F) – The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating 346,000 Ford Escape SUVs for a possible door assembly weld failure. Reports indicate that the fault could result in doors opening inadvertently while driving. Ford is cooperating with the investigation. In other news, Ford executive Franck Louis-Victor has been arrested on charges of assault and arson after allegedly attacking his wife and threatening to set fire to her designer handbags. Louis-Victor held senior positions at Ford, but the company declined to comment on the incident.

United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) – United Airlines Chief Executive Scott Kirby met with Acting FAA Chief Polly Trottenberg after criticizing air traffic control. Kirby struck a more positive tone towards the agency, praising her final weeks on the job. The FAA is struggling with staffing problems at air traffic control in New York, and airlines have been asking for more hires. Kirby also apologized for using a private jet during bad weather.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) – Boeing recovered from production problems and delivered 60 passenger jets in June, bringing the total to 266 aircraft in the first half. Although it has faced production shortfalls, the company is on track to meet annual delivery targets. Rival Airbus (EADSY) delivered 316 aircraft in the same period.

Ryanair Holdings (NASDAQ:RYAAY) – Ryanair has decided to pull out of the UK Board of Aviation, citing a lack of tangible benefits or reforms for passengers. The Council was set up to address shared challenges, but Ryanair has described it as a “conversation shop” with no effective action.

L3Harris (NYSE:LHX),  Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings (NYSE:AJRD) – Senator Elizabeth Warren and other lawmakers are urging the US Department of Defense to carefully review L3Harris Technologies’ $4.7 billion contract for Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings. They expressed concern about the influence of large defense contractors and potential damage to existing operations.

Terex (NYSE:TEX) – Terex, a maker of equipment for industries including construction, mining and maintenance, announced that its board approved a 13% increase in its quarterly dividend, now worth 17 cents a share. This is the second time this year that Terex has increased its dividend, following an increase to 15 cents in February.

Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) – Illumina was fined more than $400 million by the European Union for violating antitrust rules by proceeding with its acquisition of Grail Inc. before regulatory approval. The European Commission imposed a fine of 10% of Illumina’s annual revenue, in addition to a symbolic fine of €1,000 on Grail. Illumina had already provisioned funds to cover this potential fine.

Acadia Healthcare (NASDAQ:ACHC) – Shares in Acadia Healthcare fell -2.4% in premarket trading on Wednesday after the behavioral health services company announced it would contest a $485 million award in an abuse lawsuit filed against the company.

Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) – Gilead Sciences recently spent nearly $30 million to increase its stake in two biotechnology companies. The company acquired further shares in AlloVir (NASDAQ:ALVR) and Arcus Biosciences (NYSE:RCUS), strengthening its position as a major shareholder in both companies. AlloVir expects to earn significant revenue from its public offering. Gilead remains one of the largest shareholders in AlloVir and the main shareholder in Arcus.

Market view

Cinemark (NYSE:CNK) – Research firm B. Riley raised its rating for Cinemark from “Neutral” to “Buy” and raised the stock price target to $23, up from $20 previously. As a result, Cinemark shares were up 3.6% in premarket trade to settle at $16.52.

Affirm Holdings (NASDAQ:AFRM) – Shares in Affirm Holdings closed up 10% on Tuesday at $16.21 after receiving an increase in price target from $17 to $20 for Mizuho. The company, known for its “buy now, pay later” model, is benefiting from this positive momentum in the market.

Newell Brands (NASDAQ:NWL) – Shares in the company rose 11% on Tuesday after Sharpie brand pens and Rubbermaid products were rated “Buy” by Canaccord.

3M (NYSE:MMM) – Bank of America securities analyst Andrew Obin upgraded 3M stock to “Hold” from “Sell” on Tuesday. Its price target remains unchanged at $110 per share. Obin sees some positive catalysts that could ease pressure on equities.

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