U.S. index futures are down in Monday’s pre-market trading, reversing some of last week’s gains. This comes amidst growing bets that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates unchanged at the upcoming monetary policy meeting and initiate a decline next year. Despite efforts by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to discourage expectations of rate cuts, stating it’s “premature” to anticipate monetary easing, the market remains skeptical.

At 04:57 AM, the Dow Jones futures (DOWI:DJI) fell 59 points, or 0.16%. The S&P 500 futures retreated 0.24% and the Nasdaq-100 futures dropped 0.33%. The 10-year Treasury yield was at 4.247%.

In the commodities market, the West Texas Intermediate crude oil for January fell 0.53%, to $73.68 per barrel. Brent oil for February dropped 0.52%, near $78.47 per barrel. The iron ore with a concentration content of 62%, traded on the Dalian exchange, fell 1.14%, to $135.34 per ton.

On this Monday’s economic agenda, investors are watching at 10:00 AM, the factory orders of October by the Department of Commerce.

The European markets recorded a slight decline, reflecting a pause in the recent global recovery. Investors are speculating about possible interest rate cuts by major central banks in 2024.

The Asian stock markets had a mixed performance this Monday. Shanghai and Tokyo recorded losses, with the Shanghai Stock Exchange dropping 0.29% and Tokyo’s falling 0.60%, due to pressure on shares of Japanese developers and exporters. However, the Seoul’s Kospi index rose 0.40%, boosted by companies related to batteries and maritime cargo transportation. The Sydney Stock Exchange in Australia also had a positive performance, rising 0.73%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index fell 1.09%.

U.S. stocks rose on Friday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 reaching their best closing levels since the beginning of 2022, while the Nasdaq recorded its best close in four months. The Dow rose 0.82%, the S&P 500 advanced 0.59%, and the Nasdaq grew 0.55% in the session. Optimism about interest rates remained after the Institute for Supply Management reported a continuous contraction in U.S. manufacturing activity in November.

On Monday’s corporate earnings front, investors will be attentive to the reports from Saic (NYSE:SAIC), Fusion Fuel (NASDAQ:HTOO), GitLab (NASDAQ:GTLB), Joann (NASDAQ:JOAN) and Culp (NYSE:CULP).

Corporate Highlights of Wall Street for Today

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) – Japan’s TDK Corp will manufacture lithium-ion battery cells for Apple’s iPhones in India, announced a minister. Apple, seeing India as a key market for growth, has already started assembling iPhones in the country. TDK’s new factory in Haryana will create thousands of jobs, providing cells to Apple’s battery assembler, Sunwoda Electronics.

Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) – The Spanish Media Association, representing 83 outlets, filed a lawsuit for $598 million against Meta Platforms, accusing it of unfair competition in the advertising sector. The association alleges that Meta uses personal data of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp users without consent, gaining an unfair advantage in creating personalized ads. Including major groups such as Prisa and Vocento, the action follows previous efforts by Spanish media to challenge technology giants.

Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO), VMware (NYSE:VMW) – Following the acquisition of cloud computing company VMware, Broadcom plans to lay off about 1,300 employees in California, as reported by Bloomberg News. Broadcom, having completed the acquisition of VMware for $69 billion after receiving regulatory approval from China, is considering strategies for two VMware business units, according to a leaked email from CEO Hock Tan.

Uber Technologies (NYSE:UBER) – Uber Technologies will be included in the S&P 500 index starting December 18, along with Jabil Inc (NYSE:JBL) and Builders FirstSource (NYSE:BLDR), both from the S&P MidCap 400, as announced by S&P Dow Jones Indices. Uber’s shares will replace Sealed Air Corp (NYSE:SEE), Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) and SolarEdge Technologies (NASDAQ:SEDG) in the renowned stock market index.

Spotify (NYSE:SPOT) – Spotify announced on Monday the layoff of 1,500 employees, 17% of its workforce, after dismissing 600 in January and 200 in June. CEO Daniel Ek cited increased hiring in 2020 and 2021, despite efficiency. With profits in the third quarter and a forecast of 601 million listeners, Ek emphasizes the need to be productive and efficient, opting for substantial reductions now instead of smaller ones over 2024 and 2025.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) – Walmart confirmed it stopped advertising on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, under the ownership of Elon Musk. Citing the effectiveness of other platforms to reach its customers, the decision reflects the growing trend of major brands moving away from X, which faces challenges in retaining advertisers due to concerns over antisemitic content and Musk’s public stance.

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), PDD Holdings (NASDAQ:PDD) – Alibaba Group Holding’s U.S. shares fell after a downgrade by Morgan Stanley, due to concerns over a slow recovery in its main businesses. The 3.2% drop to $72.5 marks the lowest level in a year. Meanwhile, PDD Holdings surpassed Alibaba, becoming the most valuable Chinese e-commerce company, with a market capitalization of nearly $196 billion.

McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) – McDonald’s repurchase of 28% of its Chinese operations, reaching 48% stake, is a risky but potentially profitable move, despite geopolitical and economic challenges. The partnership with CITIC offers political advantages, standing out in a competitive market.

Wendy’s (NASDAQ:WEN) – Activist hedge fund Blackwells Capital is planning to challenge Wendy’s Co’s board in search of improvements in the financial performance of the fast-food chain. Intending to nominate several directors to the company’s 12-member board, Blackwells faces Trian Fund Management, an influential shareholder of Wendy’s. This move arises in a context of unsatisfactory performance of Wendy’s shares and follows the line of previous activist actions by Blackwells in other companies.

MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) – The union Unite Here announced that its members at MGM Grand Detroit, operated by MGM Resorts, approved a new contract, ending a 47-day strike. The agreement, covering 1,700 employees, follows a provisional agreement reached on November 17 for 3,700 workers at three Detroit casinos. The ratification brings significant wage increases and other improvements in working conditions, marking the end of the strikes at all involved casinos.

Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) – Mattel’s CEO Ynon Kreiz seeks to transform the toy company into an entertainment empire. With the success of the Barbie movie and 14 more films in production, Mattel aims to expand its brands beyond toys, following the example of Marvel.

VF Corp (NYSE:VFC) – VF Corp announced the dismissal of about 500 employees as part of a restructuring to improve operations globally. Facing a challenging retail environment in the U.S., with consumers reducing spending, the company responds to pressures from activist investors for cost cuts. New CEO Bracken Darrell warned about a broad cost reduction program. The cuts affect all brands and areas of the company, which had 33,000 employees in April.

Roche (USOTC:RHHBY) – Roche Holding AG agreed to acquire Carmot Therapeutics for up to $3.1 billion, targeting experimental drugs for obesity and diabetes, challenging Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) and expanding its pipeline. The deal involves an initial payment of $2.7 billion, with up to $400 million in milestones.

Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) – Exxon Mobil’s CEO Darren Woods refuted criticisms from the International Energy Agency, which called large-scale carbon capture an “illusion”. In an interview with Reuters during COP28, Woods compared the situation of carbon capture to that of electric vehicles and solar energy, arguing that no current solution is sufficient to solve the climate problem. He highlighted the vital role of fossil fuels and the need for innovation in all areas to combat climate change.

Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM) – Toyota plans to expand its range of battery electric vehicles in Europe to six models by 2026, expecting them to represent over 20% of new car sales in the region. The company aims to sell more than 250,000 of these vehicles annually in Europe, in a market where it faces strong competition. Elsewhere, Toyota Motor has halted production of older lines at its joint venture in Tianjin, China, as part of a planned adjustment, denying reports of suspension due to poor sales. The company is adapting production to changes in vehicle models and the aging of certain lines. This move reflects challenges in the Chinese market, where Toyota faces a slowdown in sales.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) – General Motors anticipates many of its electric vehicles will be eligible for U.S. tax credits in 2024, despite new rules restricting the use of Chinese batteries. The company considers itself well-positioned due to significant investments in the U.S. and efforts to develop resilient supply chains, highlighted after the Biden administration announced new guidelines.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) – Tesla’s Cybertruck, more expensive and with less range than promised, divides opinions. Some are fascinated by its futuristic design, while others, disappointed with the high price, question its impact on Tesla’s finances and brand.

Fisker (NYSE:FSR) – Fisker, an electric vehicle manufacturer, will reduce production this month and manufacture fewer cars than previously planned to focus on liquidity.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) – Boeing was excluded from the competition to develop the new “Doomsday Plane” for the U.S. Air Force, leaving Sierra Nevada Corp as the sole known competitor. Disputes over contractual terms affected Boeing’s participation in the project to succeed the E-4B Nightwatch.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) – Southwest Airlines is progressing towards a new labor agreement with its pilots’ union, expecting to conclude in the coming weeks. Southwest expressed commitment to reaching a fair deal, aiming to reward and maintain the competitiveness of pilots in the industry. This progress follows similar agreements reached by other major airlines with their pilots’ unions this year.

Alaska Air (NYSE:ALK), Hawaiian Holdings (NASDAQ:HA) – Alaska Air announced the purchase of Hawaiian Holdings for $1.9 billion, including debts. The offer of $18 per share reflects a significant premium over Hawaiian’s market value, impacted by various challenges. The acquisition, which increases Alaska Air’s presence in lucrative routes to Hawaii, occurs in a context of antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. airline sector and may face intense regulatory analysis.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) – U.S. stocks face a challenging year-end, following November’s recovery, due to volatility in bond yields, warned Michael Wilson of Morgan Stanley. He anticipates turbulence in December before more favorable seasonal trends and the “January effect” support stocks. Although the S&P 500 advanced 9% last month, Wilson remains neutral for 2024, predicting the index will end the year around 4,500 points.

Mizuho Financial Group (NYSE:MFG) – The president of Mizuho Financial Group noted a growing effort among Japanese companies to improve capital efficiency, responding to the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s appeal. Starting in January, the exchange will publish a list of companies adhering to this call, increasing urgency. So far, only 20% of companies listed in the main section have disclosed specific measures. The pressure not to be seen as lagging has led to an increase in share buybacks and other strategies to improve market value.

UBS (NYSE:UBS) – UBS aims to expand its operations in the American market, targeting an annual addition of $150 billion in new net funds. Iqbal Khan, head of the asset management division, revealed plans for significant investments in the U.S. over the next three years, as interviewed by NZZ Am Sonntag.

BNY Mellon (NYSE:BK) – BNY Mellon will raise its minimum wage to $22.50 per hour in 2023, an increase from the current $20, marking the third wage increase in three years. The bank will also improve mental health benefits, covering 12 therapy sessions annually, up from the current five.

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