U.S. index futures are mixed in pre-market trading this Wednesday as investors eagerly await inflation data and the beginning of corporate earnings releases.

At 05:33 AM, Dow Jones futures (DOWI:DJI) fell 23 points, or 0.06%. S&P 500 futures rose 0.07%, and Nasdaq-100 futures advanced 0.25%. The yield on 10-year Treasury bonds was at 3.989%.

In the commodities market, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for February fell 0.39% to $71.96 per barrel. Brent crude oil for March declined 0.37%, nearing $77.30 per barrel. Iron ore with a 62% concentration, traded on the Dalian exchange, dropped 3.02% to $135.38 per metric ton.

On the Wednesday economic calendar, investors await wholesale inventories for November at 10:00 AM. At 10:30 AM, weekly petroleum inventories as of 01/05 will be reported. At 3:15 PM, John Williams (FED) will speak on 2024 projections.

European markets are posting mixed results as a negative sentiment prevails. Retail sector stocks saw a 0.4% increase, with the British bakery company Greggs leading the STOXX 600 index with an impressive 9.5% surge after reporting substantial sales growth.

Asian markets mostly had a negative performance, except for Japan’s Nikkei, which rose 2.01% and reached its highest level since March 1990, driven by health technology and consumer services stocks. Meanwhile, China’s CSI 300 closed near its five-year low. Other indices such as the Shanghai SE, Hang Seng Index, Kospi, and ASX 200 also ended in decline.

At the opening of trading on Tuesday, United States stocks predominantly showed a negative trend. However, as the session progressed, they regained ground, with the Nasdaq closing in the positive territory. Dow Jones fell 0.42%, S&P 500 retreated 0.15%, and Nasdaq rose 0.09%. The initial weakness on Wall Street was attributed to profit-taking from previous gains and uncertainty about interest rates. Selling pressure eased, but traders remained cautious due to inflation data scheduled for later in the week. The US trade deficit shrank in November, surprising economists. Some sectors, such as tobacco and oil services, showed weakness, while network stocks surged on news of a possible acquisition of Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE:HPE).

On the quarterly earnings front for Wednesday, we are expecting reports from KB Home (NYSE:KBH) and Richardson Electronics (NASDAQ:RELL).

Corporate highlights from Wall Street today

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) – Apple has returned to Glassdoor’s annual list of the 100 best companies to work for, ranking 39th. Fewer tech companies made the list due to industry layoffs.

Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) – Google faces patent infringement allegations in a federal trial in Boston. Singular Computing accuses Google of copying its patented technology related to processors used in Google’s AI products. Computer scientist Joseph Bates is seeking $1.67 billion in damages. Google denies the allegations, arguing that its chips are fundamentally different.

Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) – Meta Platforms has announced stricter content control measures for teenagers on Instagram and Facebook to protect against harmful content, in response to regulatory pressures. The changes aim to create a safer online environment for young users. In other news, CEO Mark Zuckerberg surprised by revealing that he is raising cows in Hawaii. He jokes about his diet of beer and nuts for the cows. This initiative has generated mixed reactions, with concerns about the environmental impact of cattle farming.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) – The European Union (EU) is evaluating Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI in accordance with EU merger rules. The European Commission seeks to ensure competition in the artificial intelligence sector. In other news, Microsoft has collaborated with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to use artificial intelligence in identifying more efficient battery materials, reducing dependence on lithium. These actions highlight the growing relevance of AI in scientific research and technology investment regulation.

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) – Twitch, Amazon’s streaming platform, plans to reduce its workforce by 35%, approximately 500 employees, to contain ongoing losses. The decision may be announced soon. Twitch remains in the red, nine years after being acquired by Amazon. In other news, workers at Amazon’s new distribution center in Birmingham, England, voted in favor of a strike due to wage and working conditions issues, according to the GMB union. About 100 warehouse workers will go on strike on January 25th. Amazon stated that the strike will not affect customers and plans to increase the minimum starting wage to £12.30-£13 per hour by April.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) – Intel will launch AI automotive chips, competing with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA). The company is also acquiring the French startup Silicon Mobility. Chinese automaker Zeekr will be the first to use Intel technology in its vehicles. Intel aims to offer chips for vehicles across different price ranges and will allow automakers to incorporate their own chips for specific functions.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (NYSE:TSM) – TSMC, the largest contract chip manufacturer, reported nearly stable revenue of approximately $20.10 billion in the fourth quarter, driven by growing demand for AI chips, surpassing initial expectations and market forecasts. The company is set to announce its fourth-quarter earnings on January 18th. Its shares rose 32% in 2023, outperforming the broader market.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) – Walmart unveiled two AI tools at CES. The first, GenAI, uses Microsoft AI and Walmart data to search for products based on specific use cases. The second, “Walmart InHome Replenishment,” helps customers restock online shopping carts with frequent items, improving the customer experience.

PriceSmart (NASDAQ:PSMT) – PriceSmart reported adjusted earnings of $1.24 per share in the first quarter, exceeding estimates of $1.12 per share, with revenue of $1.17 billion, an 11% increase from the previous year.

WD-40 (NASDAQ:WDFC) – WD-40, a maintenance and cleaning products company, announced first-quarter fiscal profits and sales growth compared to the previous year, with sales increasing by 12% to $140.4 million.

Sonos (NASDAQ:SONO) – Saori Casey, a former Apple veteran, will become CFO of Sonos on January 22nd, replacing Eddie Lazarus, who will become Chief Strategy Officer. Casey left Apple last month after more than a decade with the company.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) – Tesla has launched the restyled Model 3 in North America with unchanged prices, eliminating the “performance” version. It now offers only rear-wheel drive and long-range options at $38,990 and $45,990, respectively. Additionally, Tesla has reduced the range estimates for its electric vehicles in the US to comply with new testing regulations that aim to accurately reflect real-world performance. Tesla has updated estimates for various models, reflecting a more realistic approach. This comes as other automakers, such as Ford (NYSE:F) and GM (NYSE:GM), claim that the new regulations will not affect their range estimates.

Honda Motor (NYSE:HMC) – Honda announced plans to launch a new series of electric vehicles starting in 2026, aiming to have battery-powered and fuel cell vehicles account for all its new car sales by 2040. The automaker hopes to compete with global rivals in the transition to electric vehicles, starting with the North American market.

VinFast (NASDAQ:VFS) – Electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast plans to increase its free float to 10%-20% by the end of the year to attract more long-term investors. This could help stabilize its shares, which have been volatile since its Nasdaq debut. VinFast also revealed a prototype of its VF Wild pickup truck at CES 2024 in Las Vegas. The four-seat electric model, VF 3, will also be sold globally, with an initial focus on the Vietnamese market. The company plans to accept reservations later this year and start deliveries in Vietnam in the third quarter.

Aehr Test Systems (NASDAQ:AEHR) – Aehr Test Systems’ shares fell 16% in pre-market trading on Wednesday due to a slowdown in electric vehicle sales, affecting orders and capacity for silicon carbide devices. The company has revised its annual revenue to $75-85 million, down from the previous forecast of $100 million.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) – Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun acknowledged more than 170 mistakes made by the company after an incident with an Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK) plane and promised full transparency and corrections. Additionally, Boeing achieved its aircraft delivery goals and saw a 70% increase in net orders in 2023, while Airbus remained the largest aircraft manufacturer for the fifth consecutive year. Boeing delivered 528 aircraft and recorded 1,314 new net orders. Airbus outperformed Boeing in gross orders and deliveries, maintaining its market leadership.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE:HPE), Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) – Hewlett Packard Enterprise has agreed to acquire network equipment manufacturer Juniper Networks for $14 billion in cash, aiming to strengthen its artificial intelligence (AI) offering. HPE has offered $40 per share, representing a 32.4% premium over Monday’s closing price. The deal aims to boost HPE’s networking business and is expected to be completed in late 2024 or early 2025, subject to regulatory approvals.

Banks – Major US banks are likely to report lower profits in the fourth quarter due to setting aside money for bad loans and increased payments to depositors. Net interest income (NII) and commercial revenues are expected to decline, affecting profits. Additionally, macroeconomic uncertainty and debates about Federal Reserve interest rate cuts may impact results. However, the health of the US consumer and labor market may mitigate concerns about delinquency. Last year was strong for bank profits, despite expectations of a fourth-quarter decline. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) will report fourth-quarter and full-year results on Friday.

BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) – BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, plans to cut approximately 3% of its workforce, roughly 600 jobs, while expecting to increase the number of employees by the end of 2024. This measure will not focus on a specific team. CEO Larry Fink seeks acquisition targets to drive the company’s growth after ending the third quarter of 2023 with $9.1 trillion in assets under management.

SVB Financial Group (NASDAQ:SIVB) – SVB Financial Group, the bankrupt parent company of Silicon Valley Bank, plans to hand over its venture capital business to a new company backed by creditors. A restructuring agreement has been reached with the support of creditors holding over $2.3 billion in SVB Financial debt. The company filed for bankruptcy in March.

Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN), Marathon Digital (NASDAQ:MARA) – Coinbase and Marathon Digital shares fell in pre-market trading on Wednesday as Bitcoin also declined following the announcement by the US Securities and Exchange Commission that its Twitter account had been compromised, and saying it had not yet approved Bitcoin exchange-traded funds.

GSK (NYSE:GSK) – GSK will acquire Aiolos Bio, an asthma drug manufacturer, for up to $1.4 billion, strengthening its respiratory disease portfolio. Aiolos is developing the ‘AIO-001’ treatment for asthma, complementing GSK’s portfolio.

CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) – Hedge activity in the lithium industry has boosted volumes of CME Group’s lithium contract, used to manage price volatility of the material used in electric vehicle batteries. Contract volumes increased significantly in 2023, attracting major banks.

Grifols (NASDAQ:GRFS) – Gotham City Research questioned Grifols’ accounting and leverage ratio. Grifols denied irregularities and pledged to clarify the allegations. The CNMV chairman said it makes no sense to question the integrity of the company’s audited accounts.

Aeva Technologies (NYSE:AEVA) – Aeva Technologies has closed a $1 billion deal with Daimler Truck (TG:DTG) to provide Lidar sensors for autonomous trucks in the US until 2027. Aeva’s sensors help vehicles obtain a detailed view of the road, detecting the speed of distant objects. Production is expected to begin in 2026. Daimler Truck plans to have autonomous trucks on the roads by 2027.

BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) – BioNTech plans to return to revenue growth in 2025 as its Covid-19 vaccine business declines. The German company forecasts revenue of around $3.28 billion in 2024 and plans to invest in expanding its oncology business starting in 2026.

Tilray Brands (NASDAQ:TLRY) – Tilray plans to continue making acquisitions in 2024 to diversify its revenue. With $260 million in resources, the company is looking for significant businesses that attract Generation Z and Generation Y. Tilray has also expanded into the beverage and alcoholic beverage market, becoming one of the largest craft breweries in the US.

Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) – Intuitive Surgical shares rose after the company reported preliminary fourth-quarter revenue of about $1.93 billion, surpassing Wall Street estimates. The recovery in China drove a 21% increase in procedures with its Da Vinci robotic surgical system.

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