U.S. index futures are showing a slight uptick in pre-market trading this Thursday, following four consecutive days of decline in the Nasdaq Composite.

At 04:02 AM, Dow Jones futures (DOWI:DJI) rose 42 points, or 0.11%. S&P 500 futures rose 0.08%, and Nasdaq-100 futures rose 0.09%. The yield on 10-year Treasury bonds stood at 3.931%.

In the commodities market, the February West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 1.43% to $73.74 per barrel. Brent crude oil for March rose 1.15%, nearing $79.15 per barrel. 62% concentration iron ore, traded on the Dalian Exchange, increased by 0.3% to $142.09 per ton.

On Thursday’s economic agenda, investors await the private sector job creation data for December to be released by ADP at 08:15 AM. The unemployment claims for the week ending last Saturday will be published at 08:30 AM by the Department of Labor. At 09:45 AM, S&P Global will release the revised Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) reading for December’s service sector activity. At 11:00 AM, the Department of Energy (DoE) will disclose the oil stock position as of last Friday.

European stock markets opened higher on Thursday, recovering from two consecutive sessions of losses. In the Stoxx 600 index, all sectors are up, with a notable performance in the oil and gas sector. French inflation ticked up slightly in December, driven by energy and services.

In Asian markets, the Japanese stock market reopened after an extended holiday, with the Nikkei 225 falling and the Topix gaining. In China, the CSI 300 index declined, while Hong Kong experienced a slight increase. Meanwhile, service activity in China expanded in December, reaching its fastest growth since July. The markets in South Korea and Australia also declined due to uncertainty regarding Fed rate cuts.

On Wednesday’s closing, the Dow Jones lost 284.85 points (0.76%) to 37,430.19 points, the S&P 500 fell 38.02 points (0.80%) to 4,704.81, and the Nasdaq dropped 173.73 points (1.18%) to 14,592.21 points. This weakness reflected concerns that interest rates will not be cut in the short term, despite Fed projections suggesting three cuts by the end of 2024. The next meeting is scheduled for January, with a 64.8% chance of a cut in March. US manufacturing activity contracted in December, and job openings fell in November. Airline and gold stocks declined, while oil producers and pharmaceuticals performed well.

Wall Street Corporate Highlights for Today

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) – The start of 2024 has brought a less optimistic tone for major technology stocks, known as the “Magnificent Seven.” The group has experienced a significant decline, led by Apple, erasing $383 billion in market value. The tech rebound of 2023 cools off, facing economic uncertainties and company-specific challenges.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) – Microsoft is introducing a Copilot button on Windows keyboards, marking the first layout change since 1994. This button facilitates creating images, emails, and summaries with AI. Available on Windows 11 devices, Microsoft is banking on integrating AI into systems and hardware, reflecting the trend of “AI-powered PCs.” The focus is to enhance products like Windows, Office, and Bing with OpenAI’s GPT-4 technology and urge consumers to upgrade to new devices.

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) – BofA Securities’ Justin Post predicts a solid year for Amazon, especially with Prime Video ads generating significant revenue potential, along with social media partnerships. Amazon, known for e-commerce and cloud computing, could see its advertising business shine in 2024, according to Post, who has a buy rating on the stock with a target price of $168. Amazon aims to increase its annual revenue by up to $5 billion through video advertising, primarily with ads on Prime Video. Ads will start in North America on January 29, with an option for ad-free subscription for an extra fee. This move aims to capitalize on content, including movies and NFL games.

Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) – Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg profited from the rise in Meta Platforms’ shares, selling nearly $428 million worth of shares in the last two months of 2023. He transferred approximately 1.8 million shares daily since November, capitalizing on Meta’s 194.1% share price increase in the past year.

Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) – Russian fines imposed on Google, Meta, TikTok, and Telegram appear to have been resolved, as they are no longer listed as debtors in the database. The database still lists fines for X (formerly Twitter) and Twitch. Disputes with foreign tech companies involve illegal content and local storage of user data, intensified after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. In late 2023, Google faced a fine of $50.4 million, proportionate to its annual turnover in Russia.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) – Intel is forming a new independent company called Articul8 AI, focused on artificial intelligence efforts, with support from investors including DigitalBridge Group. Intel did not disclose financial details but will retain an equity stake. The new company aims to address generative AI and corporate data security challenges. Other investors include Fin Capital, Mindset Ventures, and more.

SoFi Technologies (NASDAQ:SOFI) – SoFi Technologies’ shares fell 14% in the previous session, closing at $8.31, after Keefe Bruyette downgraded them from Equal Weight to Underweight. The price target was adjusted from $7.50 to $6.50.

GSI Technology (NASDAQ:GSIT) – GSI Technology received a $1.1 million contract from the US Air Force to develop an AI chip for search and rescue, object detection, and other uses. The Air Force will use SSIM (Structural Similarity Index Measure) technology and proprietary algorithms in its Gemini processor.

Xerox (NASDAQ:XRX) – Xerox announced on Wednesday its plan to reduce its workforce by 15% in this quarter as part of a new operational model, focusing on improving the core printing business, increasing productivity, and diversifying revenue.

Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM) – Toyota Motor North America announced a 6.6% increase in vehicle sales in the US in 2023, totaling 2.25 million units. Sales of electrified vehicles increased by 31%, representing 29.2% of total sales, compared to 24% the previous year.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) – General Motors surpassed Toyota (NYSE:TM) as the top-selling automaker in the US in 2023, with sales of approximately 2.6 million vehicles, a 14.1% increase from 2022. Total new vehicle sales in the US reached 15.5 million in 2023, with electrified vehicles accounting for nearly 17%. Additionally, GM is offering a $7,500 incentive on its electric vehicles after the loss of US tax credits, while Ford (NYSE:F) increased prices of F-150 EVs by up to $10,000. This is due to new battery guidelines aimed at reducing reliance on China. Some models retain the credits, while others do not. Now, the rules require assembly in North America to qualify for tax credits.

Ford Motor (NYSE:F) – Ford announced the recall of 112,965 F-150 vehicles due to an issue with the rear axle hub bolt that can break, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Wednesday.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) – Ark Investment Management’s Cathie Wood has resumed buying Tesla shares after selling them during the past year. Ark bought approximately 216,000 shares between December and January, despite negative analyst outlooks for Tesla and increasing competition from BYD Co. Wood expects a significant increase in Tesla’s stock value by 2027.

Equinor (NYSE:EQNR), BP (NYSE:BP) – Equinor and BP have canceled an agreement to sell energy from the Empire Wind 2 offshore wind farm in New York, citing rising inflation, high borrowing costs, and supply chain issues. New York has launched a new request for offshore wind energy, allowing companies to terminate old contracts and reoffer projects at higher prices.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) – Goldman Sachs is in negotiations to become an authorized participant in the Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) and Grayscale plan to launch. The US SEC is expected to make a decision by January 10 on the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs. So far, only ETFs linked to Bitcoin and Ethereum futures contracts have been approved. Additionally, Goldman Sachs Asset Management has raised $650 million for a new fund called West Street Life Sciences I, intended to invest in early- to mid-stage life sciences startups, including therapeutic and diagnostic companies.

Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO), Capital One (NYSE:COF) – Apollo and Capital One lead KBW’s recommendations for 2024, with Apollo projecting a total return of 20% and Capital One at 23%. Both stand out among a select group of financial companies, including Sr. Cooper Group (NASDAQ:COOP), Corebridge Financial (NYSE:CRBG), and Fidelity National Information Services (NYSE:FNF), all with high performance expectations.

Disney (NYSE:DIS) – Disney received support from hedge funds ValueAct Capital and Blackwells Capital in its battle against Trian Fund Management’s board challenge. Disney reached an agreement with ValueAct, and Blackwells named three directors who support the company’s strategy. This highlights the challenges faced by Disney under CEO Bob Iger, with investors seeking to boost the company. Trian Fund Management nominated itself and James Rasulo to the board, while Blackwells disagreed with the nomination.

AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) – AMC Entertainment’s shares fell 8.7% to $5.58 in the previous session, hitting a new record low, surpassing the low seen on December 21, 2023. Far from the meme stock days when it reached $339.05, AMC now faces challenges after capitalizing on the meme trend.

Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) – Roku is launching high-end Pro Series TVs (55, 65, 75 inches) for up to $1,500, entering competition with Samsung and LG. This marks an expansion beyond Roku’s current Select and Plus TVs. The new TVs offer a slim design, improved picture and audio quality, and an AI-based system for image adjustment.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ) – Verizon customers may qualify for a share of a $100 million class-action settlement due to improperly charged fees. Since 2005, Verizon’s line fees have increased from 40 cents to $3.30 in 2022. Verizon stated it will continue charging but promised greater contract transparency following a legal settlement. Customers must claim by April 15. The action may affect up to 50 million customers, with variable refunds.

AST SpaceMobile (NASDAQ:ASTS) – AST SpaceMobile, committed to creating a space-based broadband network, announced efforts to finalize and fund a strategic investment with multiple entities. The company also confirmed receiving initial orders for ground infrastructure from two customers.

Smith Douglas Homes – Homebuilder Smith Douglas Homes plans a US initial public offering (IPO), seeking a valuation of approximately $1.08 billion. The company intends to offer about 7.7 million shares at an estimated price range of $18 to $21 per share, potentially raising up to $161.5 million at the top of the price range. JPMorgan and Bank of America are the lead underwriters of the offering, and the company plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SDHC.”

Cal-Maine (NASDAQ:CALM) – In the second fiscal quarter, Cal-Maine Foods reported a net profit of $16.6 million (35 cents per share), significantly down from the $198.3 million ($4.07 per share) in the previous year. Revenue fell to $523.2 million, compared to $801.7 million. This is attributed to falling egg prices and facing a lawsuit for price-fixing and an outbreak of avian flu.

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