U.S. index futures remained firm and stable in the pre-market on Wednesday, as investors closely watched the progress of the S&P 500 index, which is moving towards hitting record milestones.

At 05:49 AM, the Dow Jones futures (DOWI:DJI) fell 2 points, or 0.01%. The S&P 500 futures fell 0.03% and the Nasdaq-100 futures retreated 0.01%. The yield rate of 10-year Treasury bonds was at 3.872%.

In the commodities market, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for February fell 0.67%, to $75.06 per barrel. Brent crude for February fell 0.54%, near $80.63 per barrel. Iron ore with a concentration of 62%, traded on the Dalian exchange, rose 0.5%, to $182.3 per metric ton at its closing, heading for a second consecutive year of gains.

European markets are up with the oil and gas sectors leading the gains, and the European blue-chip index approaching its all-time high.

Asian stocks advanced on Wednesday, following gains on Wall Street. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.2%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and the Shanghai Composite also recorded gains. Shares of Chinese video game companies recovered losses after government attempts to ease market fears. Other Asian indices, such as the Kospi in Seoul and the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney, also showed increases, while Bangkok’s SET had a slight decline and Mumbai’s Sensex rose.

On Tuesday, Dow Jones (+0.43%), S&P 500 (+0.42%), and Nasdaq (+0.54%), marked a positive start to the last week of trading in 2023. The increase was led by Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), due to a $3.2 billion grant from the Israeli government. Optimism about moderate interest rates and the lack of significant economic data kept some traders on the sidelines. Energy and semiconductor sectors posted notable gains, along with stocks in networks, banks, and telecommunications.

Wall Street Corporate Highlights for Today

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) – Apple has appealed the import ban on its watches following patent infringement allegations by Masimo (NASDAQ:MASI). The company seeks a temporary suspension of the ban pending a decision by U.S. Customs. The legal dispute continues as Apple halts sales of specific models. Apple will no longer replace out-of-warranty models of the Apple Watch Series 6 and later, offering assistance through software, not hardware. Apple’s wearables business generated $8.28 billion in the third quarter of 2023. In other news, the Apple executive known for leading the design of the iPhone and Apple Watch, Tang Tan, is leaving the company to join LoveFrom, led by Jony Ive. He will work on an early-stage artificial intelligence hardware project with software resources provided by OpenAI. Apple’s shares are slightly down in pre-market trading on Wednesday after falling for the past four sessions.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) – Intel will invest $25 billion in Israel after securing $3.2 billion in incentives from the Israeli government. The investment aims to expand wafer manufacturing in Kiryat Gat and is part of Intel’s efforts to create a more resilient global supply chain. This is the largest investment ever made by a company in Israel. The Israeli government has requested that Intel commence operations at the factory by 2028 and continue until at least 2035, while the company has also committed to spending $16.6 billion with local suppliers, creating direct and indirect jobs.

Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) – Micron Technology has resolved an intellectual property theft lawsuit with Fujian Jinhua, a state-backed Chinese company. The companies have agreed to withdraw their legal actions against each other. This agreement comes after the Chinese government blocked Micron’s chips in May due to cybersecurity concerns.

Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) – Nvidia and its employees donated $15 million to Israeli charities and nonprofit organizations assisting victims of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. The donation included matching employee contributions and additional humanitarian aid, such as computer donations and meals for evacuees.

NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES), Tencent (USOTC:TCEHY) – Shares of Chinese online gaming companies like NetEase and Tencent rebounded in Hong Kong trading after a sharp decline caused by stricter regulations. The Chinese regulator proposed measures to curb excessive spending on games and ban rewards. However, a subsequent statement mentioned the approval of 105 new online games, generating optimism in the sector and boosting stocks. NetEase’s U.S.-listed shares are down 4% in pre-market trading.

Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM) – Toyota’s global production in November reached a record high with an 11% increase, driven by strong demand in Japan and overseas following supply chain disruptions the previous year. Global sales also rose by 14%, indicating that Toyota is on track for record sales of over 10 million vehicles in 2023, with one-third of vehicles sold being gasoline-electric hybrids. In related news regarding the shutdown of its factories in Japan due to a safety scandal, Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu Motor, specializing in small cars, will compensate 423 domestic suppliers. The company will also help small subcontractors access government support funds.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) – Tesla plans to launch a refreshed version of the Model Y at its Shanghai factory, with production scheduled to begin in 2024. The production overhaul was previously reported in March.

Nio (NYSE:NIO) – Chinese electric car manufacturer Nio has unveiled its executive sedan ET9, featuring self-developed technologies, including semiconductors and autonomous driving. The vehicle is expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2025, with an estimated price of $112,178, and the company aims to expand its charging infrastructure and attract investments. U.S. startup ClearMotion has secured a contract to provide its active suspension technology to Nio, covering 750,000 vehicles in the ET9 model. This technology reduces vehicle motion by approximately 75% compared to the best existing technologies.

Cummins (NYSE:CMI) – Cummins, a truck engine manufacturer, has agreed to pay a record fine of $1.675 billion for installing devices that allowed excessive pollution emissions from its engines, in violation of the U.S. Clean Air Act. The tampering devices were used in RAM 2500 and 3500 pickups from 2013 to 2019, resulting in excess nitrogen oxide production. This is the largest civil penalty ever imposed for an environmental violation in the United States.

Mullen Automotive (NASDAQ:MULN) – Mullen Automotive’s shares are down over 2% in pre-market trading on Wednesday, after rising 12% on Tuesday and falling 31% on Friday. The electric vehicle manufacturer’s shares have faced significant volatility, surging 78.1% on December 21st after a stock split, and accumulating a 99.8% decline in 2023.

Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) – Plug Power considers the new U.S. rules for qualifying hydrogen projects for tax credits to be “disappointing” but expects the regulations to become more flexible after public comments. The rules require strict clean energy usage and hourly matching to qualify for tax credits of up to $3 per kilogram.

Chevron (NYSE:CVX) – Chevron faces profit estimate reductions by Wall Street analysts and potential job cuts due to operational setbacks in 2023. The company’s shares have fallen 15% this year, while profit estimates for 2024 have decreased by an average of 10.3%. Investors are questioning the company’s operational targets, and 2024 is seen as a growth hiatus year. Chevron also faces delays in the acquisition of Hess (NYSE:HES) and challenges in its operations in the Permian Basin and Kazakhstan.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) – ConocoPhillips has financially approved its $8 billion Willow oil and gas project in Alaska. The project aims to produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil per day and is seen as a move to offset declining oil production in the region, although it has faced opposition from environmental and indigenous groups.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) – According to Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs has learned two lessons when betting on the post-pandemic reopening boom in China in 2023. First, that emerging markets and ex-China emerging markets should be treated differently due to the lack of correlation of Chinese assets with other emerging assets. Second, that the resilience of emerging markets, excluding China, is remarkable, thanks to proactive policies by central banks in these countries.

Mastercard (NYSE:MA) – Retail sales in the United States increased by 3.1% between November 1st and December 24th, below Mastercard’s expectations of 3.7%. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) increased promotions but not as deeply as in the previous year when there was excess inventory due to the pandemic. Online sales grew by 6.3%, slower than last year. Clothing and restaurant sales increased, while electronics sales decreased by 0.4%.

Volcon (NASDAQ:VLCN) – Volcon’s shares are down over 6% in pre-market trading on Wednesday, after rising 88.9% and achieving a record daily gain on Tuesday, with a record turnover of 93.3 million shares. The electric off-road vehicle company had previous supply chain issues but has now announced that remaining components are in order, and shipments will commence in the first quarter of 2024. The shares are still down 96.3% for the year.

Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), RayzeBio (RYZB), Karuna Therapeutics (KRTX) – Bristol Myers Squibb will acquire RayzeBio for approximately $4.1 billion to strengthen its cancer drug portfolio. This is BMS’s second major deal in a week, following the purchase of Karuna Therapeutics for $14 billion. The deal aims to enhance BMS’s presence in the cancer treatment market, especially with RayzeBio’s radiotherapeutic therapy RYZ101. RayzeBio’s shares have increased by 27% since its market debut in September.

AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN), Gracell Biotechnologies – AstraZeneca has announced the acquisition of Gracell Biotechnologies, a Chinese biotechnology company focused on cancer treatments, in a deal worth up to $1.2 billion. The acquisition aims to boost AstraZeneca’s ambitions in cell therapy. Gracell’s shareholders will receive $2 in common stock and an additional contingent value right of 30 cents per share. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024, subject to regulatory approvals and Gracell’s shareholders. American depositary receipts of Gracell surged 59% on Tuesday in response to the news.

Emergent BioSolutions (NYSE:EBS) – Emergent BioSolutions’ shares fell on Tuesday after rising more than 11% in the two previous sessions. The recent surge was driven by the Biden administration’s announcement of the availability of overdose reversal drugs at federal facilities and public locations, but the shares have still fallen 26.3% in the last three months.

Coherus BioSciences (NASDAQ:CHRS) – Coherus BioSciences has received FDA approval for its Udenyca on-body injector, resulting in a 33% increase in the company’s shares in pre-market trading on Wednesday. Udenyca Onbody is a new presentation of Coherus’ cancer drug, and it is expected to be commercially available in the first quarter of 2024. The company’s shares have fallen by 72% over the year.

Manchester United (NYSE:MANU) – Manchester United’s shares closed higher on Tuesday after British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe acquired a minority stake of 25% in the club. The deal values the club at $5.4 billion. Ratcliffe will provide an additional $300 million for future investments at Old Trafford stadium and will assume responsibility for the club’s football operations. The team faces pressure to improve its sporting performance, and the Glazers are exploring options to sell the club.

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