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Apple, General Mills, Alibaba, Treasuries and Inflation - 5 Things You Must Know

Stocks edge higher, with investors eyeing bonds as traders return from Veterans' Day observance; Apple supplier Foxconn cautions on chip shortage; General Mills mulling $3 billion brand sale; Alibaba reports muted Single's Day sales record and SpaceX's 'Endurance' docks with the International Space Station.

Here are five things you must know for Friday, November 12:

1. -- Stocks Futures Edge Higher, Eyeing Bond Market Return

U.S. equity futures nudged higher Friday, but remain on pace to snap a five week winning streak, as investors eye bond market reaction to Wednesday's inflation shock and its impact on market sentiment.

U.S. Treasury bond yields were largely tame in the overnight session, with full trading in New York set to resume following yesterday's Veterans' Day observance. Reaction to Wednesday's inflation release -- which showed U.S. consumer prices rising at the fastest pace since 1990 -- could be key for market direction heading into the final weeks of the 2021 trading year.

The CME Group's FedWatch tool is now pricing in a 68.8% chance of a rate hike by June of next year, notably earlier than prior forecasts, while benchmark 2-year Treasury note yields are trading at 0.536%, more than double the Fed's target range of between 0% and 0.25%.

The consumer impact of inflation will also be in evidence with data from the University of Michigan's key sentiment index, which is due at 10:00 am Eastern time.

Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a modest 70 point opening gain while those linked to the S&P 500 are priced for a 7 point move to the upside.

Futures tied to the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite are indicating a 35 point advance even as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields edge higher, to 1.573%, in quiet overnight trading.

2. -- Apple Holds Gains As Foxconn Cautions on Chip Shortage 

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report share were marked modestly higher in pre-market trading after one of its key suppliers, Taiwan's Foxconn, cautioned that the global semiconductor shortage could last well into the second half of next year.

Foxconn, which posted stronger-than-expected profits of $1.33 billion for its fiscal third quarter, said the ongoing shortage would mean revenues would likely fall 15% from 2020 levels over the final months of the year.

The cautious outlook from Foxconn -- assembles around 75% of Apple's iPhones -- reflects Apple's own concern regarding sales over the holiday period, which it said last month would continue to be impacted by the chip shortage. 

Apple shares were marked 0.12% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $148.05 each.

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3. -- General Mills Mulling $3 Billion Brand Sale, Bloomberg Reports

General Mills  (GIS) - Get General Mills, Inc. (GIS) Report shares were little changed in pre-market trading following a Bloomberg report that suggested the packaged food group is planning a $3 billion sale of its Progresso and Helper brands.

Credit Suisse analyst Robert Moskow said the "hefty" price tag being reported for the sale likely represents a valuation multiple of 3-times sales for the soup and boxed-pasta meal brands. 

"Assuming the company uses the proceeds for share repurchase, a price this high would only represent 2% EPS dilution before capital gains taxes and stranded overhead costs," Moskow said. "We think the dilution could be as much as 6-7% including these factors."  

General Mills shares closed at 62.90 each in New York last night, following a 1$ decline on the session that trimmed their year-to-date gain to around 6.6%.

4. -- Alibaba Reports Muted Singles Day Tally, But Sales Hit Record 

Alibaba Group Holding's  (BABA) - Get Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Sponsored ADR Report U.S.-listed shares edged lower in pre-market trading after the online retail giant posted its slowest 'Single's Day' sales growth on record.

Sales for the elven-day festival, the largest online shopping event in the world, rose just 8.5% from last year, Alibaba said, as marketing -- and to a large extend, hype -- evaporated amid Beijing's broader crackdown on corporate profitability in the tech sector. 

That said, combined sales still hit an all-time high of 540.3 billion yuan, or just under $85 billion, with an estimated 900 million customers splurging on a record 290,000 different brands for sale. 

Alibaba shares were marked 0.45% lower in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $167.00 each.

5. -- SpaceX's 'Endurance' Docks With International Space Station 

The International Space Station welcomed four astronauts on board Friday after the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule 'Endurance' docked with the iconic research center late last night. 

Endurance, launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, docked with the Space Station some 260 miles above the Caribbean Sea, NASA said, joining its crew of four with cosmonauts from Russia for a six-month stint while delivering around 4,000 pounds of hardware and research equipment.

"I think we all loved the ride up here," said flight commander Raja Chari. "It was way smoother than we could have imagined."