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Stocks Higher Ahead of Inflation Data, Apple iPhone Cuts, Shatner In Space - 5 Things You Must Know

Stocks edge higher ahead of inflation data, JPMorgan earnings; Apple reportedly planning iPhone 13 production cuts; SAP rides cloud to forecast boost; Plug Power gets upgrade from Morgan Stanley and William Shatner begins countdown to the 90-year-old actor's first voyage into space.

Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, October 12:

1. -- Stocks Futures Steady Ahead of Inflation Data, JPMorgan Earnings

U.S. equity futures bumped higher Wednesday, while oil prices eased and Treasury yields fell, as investors looked cautiously to a key reading of September inflation and the unofficial start to the third quarter earnings season prior to the start of trading.

Global stocks traded modestly higher following surprisingly robust trade data from China, where September exports rose 28.1% from last year as consumer demand outpace supply chain disruptions and power shortages, while last night's passage of a debt ceiling extension by House lawmakers puts at least one market concern to the side until early December.

In the meantime, investors will navigate what could be a tricky earnings season, kicked-off by a third quarter update from JPMorgan JPM, as well as September inflation data and minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting, which will be published at 2:00 pm Eastern time

Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a 55 point opening bell gain ahead of the inflation data at 8:30 am Eastern time, while the broader S&P 500 is priced for a 8 point move to the upside. Nasdaq Composite futures, meanwhile, are set for a 70 point gain as benchmark 10-year note yields eased to 1.565% in overnight trading following yesterday's solid $36 billion auction and growing concerns for the strength of the post-pandemic recovery.

2. -- Apple Looks To iPhone Production Cuts

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report shares moved lower in pre-market trading Wednesday amid reports that the tech giant may need to cut production of its signature iPhone 13 as result of the global semiconductor shortage

Bloomberg News reported that Apple could slash production by as much as 10 million units , taking the overall end-of-year total to around 80 million units, as a result of delays from major supplies such as Broadcom  (AVGO) - Get Broadcom Inc. Report and Texas Instruments  (TXN) - Get Texas Instruments Incorporated Report.

Apple said after its July earnings update that supply constraints would likely hit both the iPhone and the iPad in terms of sales, as a shortage in global semiconductors blunts its ability to meet "jaw-dropping" consumer demand. The hit will trim a bit more than $3 billion from September quarter revenues, Apple said, modestly higher than the impact it forecast for the prior period.

Apple shares were marked 0.6% lower in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $140.65 each.

3. -- SAP Rides Cloud Growth Into Forecast Boost

SAP SE  (SAP) - Get SAP SE Sponsored ADR Report shares surged in pre-market trading after the cloud and business software group boosted its full-year revenue outlook thanks to what it called "record adoption of our applications and our platform."

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Germany-based SAP said it sees cloud revenues rising by €200 million this year to around €24 billion, a gain of around 17.5% from 2020, with operating profits coming in between down 2% and flat on the year. 

The forecast boost followed stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings of €1.74 per share on sale of €6.68 billion, and will be closely watched by cloud-focused rivals such as IBM  (IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Report, Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report and Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report

SAP's U.S.-listed shares were marked 5.2% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $141.6 each. 

4. -- Plug Power Gets Price Boost From Morgan Stanley

Plug Power  (PLUG) - Get Plug Power Inc. Report shares jumped higher in pre-market trading Wednesday after analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded the hydrogen fuel cell developer to 'outperform' and boosted their price target to $40 a share.

The move comes ahead of the Latham, New York-based group's investor day -- or “Plug Symposium” -- Thursday that CEO Andy Marsh has hinted could include new deals with truck manufactures. Marsh also told CNBC’s Mad Money that Plug already is cooperating with General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company (GM) Report on materials handling.

Plug Power shares were marked 5% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $31.28 each.

5. -- Shatner Ready To 'Boldly Go' With Blue Origin 

William Shatner, the actor made famous by his portrayal of Captain James Kirk in the long-running television series and movie franchise 'Star Trek', will travel into space for real Wednesday with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin.

Shatner, 90, will join three other passengers on a Blue Origin NS-18 rocket -- the same capsule used to send the Amazon founder into space last month -- for a 10 minute journey that will take him around 66 miles into the earth's atmosphere.

"We're just at the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is. How extraordinary it is to be part of that beginning," Shatner said in a video message. "It looks like there's a great deal of curiosity about this fictional character, Captain Kirk, going into space. So let's go along with it and enjoy the ride."

 Lift-off is slated for 10:00 am Eastern time from Blue Origin's launch site in Van Horn, Texas.