Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, November 17:
1. -- Stocks Futures Steady As Inflation Concerns Linger
U.S. equity futures nudged lower Wednesday, while the dollar rose to a four-and-a-half year high against the yen, as investors expressed concern that solid consumer spending will continue to power inflation prospects heading into the final months of the year.
A stronger-than-expected reading for October retail sales, alongside robust October-quarter profits for retail giants Walmart WMT and Home Depot, has re-ignited inflation concerns and lifted Treasury bond yields and rate hike prospects. That's putting pressure on U.S. stocks heading into the start of the Wednesday session, with investors also looking to housing starts data, before-the-bell earnings from Target and Lowe's and an update from chipmaker Nvidia after the close of trading.
Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a modest 12 point opening dip while those linked to the S&P 500 are priced for a 2 point move to the downside.
Futures tied to the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite are indicating a 10 point gain as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields edged to 1.63% in overnight trading.
2. -- Pfizer Seeks Quick FDA Booster Approval
Pfizer PFE shares bumped higher in pre-market trading after reports that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration said it would offer a quick review of its application to have its COVID booster shot approved for all American adults.
The FDA promised to review the application "as expeditiously as possible", opting for an internal decision as opposed to one from a panel of outside experts, with a decision expected as early as this week. An advisory panel to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to meet Friday to approve the Pfizer request.
Pfizer shares were marked 1.13% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $50.16 each.
3. -- Amazon Drops UK-Issued Visa Credit Cards
Visa (V) - Get Visa Inc. Class A Report shares moved lower in pre-market trading after retail giant Amazon AMZN said it would no longer accept credit cards issued in the United Kingdom due to the high fees it charges on payments.
Starting in mid-January of next year, Amazon.co.uk will no longer allow U.K.-issued Visa cards as a form of payment, although debit cards will still be permitted, the company said. Amazon's decision echoes a similar dispute with U.S.-based grocery group Kroger KR in 2019.
Visa shares were marked 1.25% lower in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $212.50 each.
4. -- Musk Offloads Another Batch of Tesla Shares
Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report shares nudged higher in pre-market trading amid another set of Securities & Exchange Commission filings showing founder and CEO Elon Musk offloading another batch of shares in the clean-energy carmaker.
Musk, who pledged to sell 10% of his stake last week, sold $973 million in stock to pay taxes on the exercising of options earlier this week, taking the total of Musk's sales to around $8.2 million shares with a value of $8.8 billion.
Tesla has lost nearly $210 million in market value since Musk's early November Twitter poll which unveiled his intention to sell some of his 70 million-plus shares.
Tesla shares were marked 1.2% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $1,067.30 each.
5. -- Qualcomm Looks to Post-Apple Profits
Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get Qualcomm Inc Report shares eased from their all-time closing high last night after the chipmaker forecast robust near-term growth even as sales to Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report slow sharply in the coming year.
Qualcomm told investors during and industry conference Tuesday afternoon in New York that Apple sales will comprise only a "low single-digit" percentage of chips sales by the end of its 2024 fiscal year as the tech giant transitions to its in-house semiconductors, but vowed that chips made for autonomous driving and the 'internet of things' would more than make up the difference.
Qualcomm sees auto revenues growing to $3.5 billion by fiscal 2024, a compound annual growth rate of 28%, based on key contract agreements with General Motors GM and BMW, while 'multi-year' chip deals with Android phone manufacturers are expected to offset the decline in Apple revenues.
Qualcomm shares were marked 0.87% lower in pre-market trading Wednesday, after closing at a record high of $181.81 each, to indicate an opening bell price of $180.23 each.