In the pre-market on Wednesday, U.S. index futures showed a slight increase, with investors awaiting the latest monetary policy decision from the Federal Reserve.

At 05:30 AM, the Dow Jones (DOWI:DJI) futures rose 42 points, or 0.11%. S&P 500 futures rose 0.11% and Nasdaq-100 futures rose 0.14%. The 10-year Treasury yield was at 4.191%.

In the commodities market, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for January fell 0.06%, to US$ 68.57 per barrel. Brent crude for February fell 0.12%, close to US$ 73.15 per barrel. Iron ore with a concentration of 62%, traded on the Dalian exchange, fell 1.35%, to US$ 133.26 per ton.

On Wednesday’s economic agenda, investors await at 08:30 AM the Producer Price Index (PPI) for November. At 10:30 AM, the oil inventories of the week until 12/08 will be released. At 14:00 PM, the U.S. Central Bank will announce its decision, followed by a press conference with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at 14:30. The Fed is expected to maintain interest rates in the range of 5.25% to 5.5%, but investors will also analyze Powell’s comments for clues about when rate cuts can be expected.

European markets are slightly up. Tomorrow, the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bank of England (BoE), and the Swiss National Bank will announce their interest rate decisions, following the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) announcement. Additionally, recent statistics released by the Office for National Statistics reveal that the UK economy contracted by 0.3% in October. This drop was driven by declines observed in key sectors such as services, production, and construction.

In Asian stock markets, there was a mixed variation, with the Shanghai SE (China) index registering a drop of 1.15%. The Nikkei (Japan) recorded a slight increase of 0.25%. The Hang Seng Index (Hong Kong) fell 0.89%. The Kospi (South Korea) decreased by 0.97%. The ASX 200 (Australia) showed an increase of 0.31%. The Chinese government recently announced its economic targets for 2024, which include stimulating domestic demand, prioritizing the development of key sectors, and addressing the real estate sector crisis. These initiatives, announced by Beijing, are in line with market expectations, as analyzed by BofA Global Research. However, no major fiscal stimulus or significant interest rate reduction is expected.

On Tuesday’s close, U.S. stocks continued their recent trend of gains, with the main indices closing at their highest levels in over a year. The Dow Jones rose 0.48% to 36,577.94, the S&P 500 increased 0.46% to 4,643.70, and the Nasdaq gained 0.70% to 14,533.40. This positive momentum came after a report from the Labor Department that showed a slight increase in U.S. consumer prices in November, fueling optimism about future interest rates. Although the Fed is expected to keep rates unchanged, the markets are attentive to indications of rate cuts next year.

On the corporate earnings front for Wednesday, investors will be paying attention to reports from ABM (NYSE:ABM). IPG Phototronics (NASDAQ:PLAB), Cognyte (NASDAQ:CGNT), and VersaBank (NASDAQ:VBNK), before the market opens. After the close, reports from Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE), Amtech Systems (NASDAQ:ASYS), Nordson Corp (NASDAQ:NDSN), among others, will be observed.

Wall Street Corporate Highlights for Today

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) – Apple has provided rivals access to its tap-and-go mobile payment systems in an attempt to resolve EU antitrust charges. The European Commission will assess the offer after seeking feedback from competitors and customers next month. Apple also faces charges of hindering the promotion of App Store alternatives.

Foxconn (USOTC:FXCOF) – Foxconn received approval to invest over $1 billion in its Indian factory, which will produce Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) products. Foxconn plans to spend about $2.7 billion at the site as part of its efforts to expand production outside China. Apple and its partners are speeding up the creation of a supply chain in India, as Chinese companies face regulatory challenges and political tensions.

Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) – Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, faces copyright infringement allegations for using thousands of pirated books to train its AI model Llama. Internal documents reveal discussions about legality. The lawsuit has been consolidated with others filed by authors, including Sarah Silverman and Michael Chabon.

Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) – Google (Alphabet), Meta, Qualcomm, and seven other technology companies formed the Coalition for Open Digital Ecosystems (CODE) to promote more open systems, innovation, and cooperation in Europe, in response to new EU rules, including the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) – AMD’s stock rose for the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday, nearing its highest close in almost a year. The prices closed at $137.61, close to the January 2022 closing. Shares are up 0.34% in Wednesday’s pre-market.

TE Connectivity (NYSE:TEL) – The electrical component company announced that its board approved a $1.5 billion increase in its stock buyback program.

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) – Alibaba’s cloud unit lost its commercial director, Cai Yinghua, amid internal restructuring and uncertainty following the decision to back off from the $11 billion business separation. The company appointed new executives in an attempt to revitalize the cloud division.

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Disney (NYSE:DIS) – According to Reuters, Netflix will lead U.S. ad revenue in 2024, with a 50.3% increase to about $1 billion, due to price hikes and password-sharing restrictions. Disney+ will register a 16.1% increase to about $912 million, seeking to regain ground.

AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) – AMC Entertainment completed a stock offering, raising about $350 million. The move aims to reduce the company’s debt, which exceeded $5 billion in 2022. This brings AMC’s total raised since September 1 to $675 million and $865 million in the 2023 calendar year.

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) – Nokia downgraded its operating margin target to at least 13% by 2026, due to losing a deal with AT&T (NYSE:T). The company still sees a path to the previous target but considered it prudent to revise due to market conditions. Additionally, Nokia and Deutsche Telekom made a deal to use ORAN technology in Germany, marking Nokia’s return to DT’s commercial networks since being absent since 2017. The project is underway and will be extended next year.

DoubleVerify (NYSE:DV) – The digital media analytics company received an Overweight rating and a target price of $40 from Morgan Stanley in its initial assessment.

Visa (NYSE:V), Mastercard (NYSE:MA) – The UK payment regulator proposed a temporary cap on cross-border interchange fees charged by Mastercard and Visa in transactions between the UK and the European single market. This aims to protect businesses from excessive payments, following a market review that identified undue fee increases.

Blackstone (NYSE:BX) – The casino and gaming regulator of Victoria, Australia, is investigating Blackstone-owned Crown Resorts regarding allegations that CEO Ciaran Carruthers allowed drunk customers and even a minor into the casino. The investigation is ongoing.

Bain Capital (NYSE:BCSF) – Bain Capital sold a $448 million stake in Indian bank Axis Bank in a block trade. Bain affiliates offered 33.4 million shares, representing 1.1% of Axis Bank, at 1,119.70 rupees per share, a 1% discount to the closing price. In addition, Bain Capital agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Swedish infrastructure projects and services company Eleda from Altor, with Altor retaining a minority stake. Founders and management will reinvest significantly in the company. Eleda generates over $1.44 billion in annual revenues. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) – Goldman Sachs’ global head of commodities, Ed Emerson, will retire in March after more than 24 years at the firm. Xiao Qin and Nitin Jindal will jointly lead the commodities business.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) – A judge in São Paulo approved bankruptcy protection for SouthRock Capital, which manages Starbucks cafes and TGI Fridays restaurants in Brazil. SouthRock will continue restructuring its operations, including Starbucks and TGI Fridays stores, but does not affect Subway and Eataly.

Farfetch (NYSE:FTCH) – The post-pandemic slowdown affects European luxury companies, including LVMH (USOTC:LVMUY) and Kering (EU:KER), but Farfetch, a pioneer in e-commerce, suffers more. The company faces stock drops, credit downgrades, and competition from brands seeking distribution control. Rumors suggest sale or going private.

Cal-Maine (NASDAQ:CALM) – Cal-Maine Foods detected the avian flu virus at one of its facilities in Kansas, affecting 1.6% of the flock. Production was temporarily halted, and the company states there’s no immediate threat to public health or the food supply. Investors will be updated in the January quarterly results.

Kroger (NYSE:KR) – Six U.S. lawmakers expressed opposition to Kroger’s $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons (NYSE:ACI), claiming the proposed store divestitures won’t solve antitrust issues and could harm consumers, workers, and the food sector. The FTC is still reviewing the deal. Additionally, Kroger announced that its associates will return to offices in February 2024, attending three to four days a week, citing greater efficiency and collaboration. About 5,800 associates in Cincinnati and other locations will be affected by the change.

Blend Labs (NYSE:BLND) – Shares of fintech company Blend Labs rose 5.71% in Wednesday’s pre-market to $1.85, after Keefe Bruyette raised its target price from $1.50 to $1.85 and maintained a Market Perform rating for the shares.

Camping World (NYSE:CWH) – Roth MKM analysts initiated coverage of Camping World shares with a Buy rating and set a target price of $30.

Choice Hotels (NYSE:CHH) – Choice Hotels International launched a hostile offer for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:WH), valued at about $7.2 billion. Choice is ready for a boardroom battle as it seeks to combine two of the largest operators of budget hotels in the U.S.

Booking Holdings (NASDAQ:BKNG) – Booking Holdings Inc. is witnessing travel normalization in the Middle East following the conflict between Israel and Hamas. CEO Glenn Fogel reported an increase in hotel bookings, flights, and travel activities, similar to what occurred in Eastern Europe after the Russia-Ukraine crisis in 2022. Although the situation remains volatile, this development is a positive sign for the travel industry.

SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) – SunPower’s shares fell 7.6% on Tuesday after the company announced an amendment to its credit agreement with lenders, due to challenges related to higher interest rates, inflation, and regulatory changes in 2023. The company received financing commitments from Sol Holding worth $25 million. Shares are stable in Wednesday’s pre-market.

Uber (NYSE:UBER) – Uber and Carrefour (EU:CA) are collaborating to provide Uber drivers access to Carrefour’s electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in France. Uber will invest 300,000 euros to enable EV charging for its VTC drivers and will offer preferential rates at Carrefour’s charging network starting January 1.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) – GM and Komatsu plan to develop a hydrogen fuel cell power module for Komatsu’s 930E electric mining truck. The goal is to test a prototype of the hydrogen fuel cell-powered truck by mid-decade.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) – The rear-wheel drive and long-range Tesla Model 3 vehicles will lose the federal tax credit of up to $7,500 from December 31, due to new guidelines from the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, seeking to reduce China’s dependence in the electric vehicle supply chain. Tesla advised to make deliveries by December 31 to obtain the full tax credit. Elsewhere, Tesla received approval from Mexico’s Federal Ministry of the Environment to build its “gigafactory” in Nuevo Leon. The land covers about 261 hectares, with estimated costs of over $5 billion. Elon Musk expressed concern about the economy, but the Nuevo Leon government will invest more than $130 million in supporting infrastructure. Additionally, Tesla shared a video on Tuesday showcasing improvements in its humanoid robot prototype called “Optimus”. The robot is now lighter, with the ability to handle delicate objects and tactile detection in its fingers. The goal is to enable the robot to perform dangerous or monotonous tasks in place of humans.

SpaceX – Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to sell preferred shares at $97 each in a public offering, raising the value of the space and satellite company to about $180 billion, making it one of the most valuable private companies in the world.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) – Boeing delivered 56 planes in November, approaching its annual targets. The deliveries included 45 737 MAX, one P-8, two 777 freighters, two 767s, and six 787 Dreamliners. The company is close to its annual delivery goals. In other news, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed three directives for inspections and component replacements on Boeing 737NG airplanes following a fatal incident involving Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) fan blades in 2018. The directives affect 1,979 airplanes registered in the U.S. and 6,666 worldwide, aiming to enhance safety. Additionally, Boeing is making significant cuts to its strategic teams, halving the number of planners working in major divisions, as it faces industrial pressures. This move aims to redirect more resources to its operations. The company has faced financial challenges in recent years and is seeking internal restructuring.

L3Harris (NYSE:LHX) – U.S. defense company L3Harris announced the suspension of its merger and acquisition activities to strengthen its balance sheet and outperform analysts’ estimates, targeting a revenue of about $21 billion by 2024. The company will also prioritize investments in research and development, debt reduction, and share buyback.

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) – Amgen announced an increase in its dividend, rising to $2.25 per share, marking the 12th consecutive year of increase. The dividend will be paid on March 7 to shareholders registered by February 16.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) – Pfizer plans to complete the acquisition of Seagen for $43 billion this week, creating a new oncology division. Pfizer will also reorganize its commercial businesses, and commercial director Angela Hwang will leave the position. Pfizer will donate royalty rights from Bavencio cancer drug sales to the American Association for Cancer Research.

Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) – Moderna announced that its commercial director, Arpa Garay, has left the position. CEO Stephane Bancel will assume sales and marketing responsibilities as the company deals with weak Covid-19 vaccine sales.

Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) – Illumina accused the EU of overstepping its powers by reviewing the merger with Grail, while the EU claimed the company was trying to rewrite merger rules. This highlights the EU’s determination to apply Article 22 to review large company deals, even below the EU merger revenue thresholds.

Caribou Biosciences (NASDAQ:CRBU) – Shares of the genetic editing company rose 2.83% in Wednesday’s pre-market following the FDA’s approval of the lymphoma trial design.

Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) – Shares of Zealand Pharma (CHIX:ZEALC) outperform those of Novo Nordisk, with a 63% increase in market value on the Copenhagen stock exchange this year, driven by unique mechanism weight loss drugs. Zealand focuses on obesity and develops treatments based on amylin analogs. Investors see potential in a growing weight loss market.

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