Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, May 26:
1. -- Stock Futures Rise as Fed Seeks to Ease Inflation Worries
Stock futures rose Wednesday, a day after equities declined amid economic data that pointed to the unease consumers feel about rising prices.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 82 points, S&P 500 futures were up 12 points and Nasdaq futures gained 48 points.
Federal Reserve officials have been playing down the risk of rising prices, repeating the central bank's view that current inflation levels - the highest since 2009 - will slow into the end of the year as base effects fade and supply-chain bottlenecks ease.
Richard Clarida, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, said Tuesday in an interview with Yahoo Finance that rising inflation "will prove to be largely transitory." He added that if inflation was more "persistent" the Fed has the tools to bring it down to the central bank's long-term goal of 2%.
Investors, however, have remained worried stronger inflation might prompt the Fed to pull back on its extraordinary support for the U.S. economy. Those concerns have led to a recent bout of uneven trading on Wall Street.
Stocks finished lower Tuesday following a greater-than-forecast drop in U.S. home sales and consumer confidence that fell for the first time in six months.
2. -- Wednesday's Calendar: Nvidia, Snowflake, Williams-Sonoma Earnings
Earnings reports are expected Wednesday from Nvidia (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report, Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) - Get Dick's Sporting Goods Inc Report, Snowflake (SNOW) - Get Snowflake Inc. Class A Report, Okta (OKTA) - Get Okta Inc. Report, Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) - Get Abercrombie & Fitch Company Report, Workday (WDAY) - Get Workday Inc. Report, American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) - Get American Eagle Outfitters Inc. Report, Williams-Sonoma (WSM) - Get Williams-Sonoma Inc. (DE) Report, Zuora (ZUO) - Get Zuora Inc. Class A Report and DXC Technology (DXC) - Get DXC Technology Company Report.
The U.S. economic calendar Wednesday includes MBA Mortgage Applications for the week ended May 21 at 7 a.m. ET and Oil Inventories for the week ended May 21 at 10:30 a.m.
3. -- AMC and GameStop Extend Gains
Shares of AMC Entertainment (AMC) - Get AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Class A Report and GameStop (GME) - Get GameStop Corporation Report, two favorites of the retail trading crowd, extended gains in premarket trading Wednesday as loyalists of the meme stocks touted the names on social media platforms.
AMC rose 3.29% to $16.95 after jumping nearly 20% on Tuesday. The stock soared after Citigroup analyst Jason Bazinet nearly doubled his price target on the world’s biggest movie theater chain to $3.70 from $2.
GameStop gained 4.07% in premarket trading to $217.95. The video game retailer soared more than 16% on Tuesday.
TheStreet's Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" program on Tuesday evening that he's been paying attention to the moves in AMC and GameStop as the WallStreetBets crew bids the meme stocks higher again.
4. -- Bitcoin Rises Above $40,000
Bitcoin prices moved above $40,000 as the world's largest cryptocurrency steadied following a stretch of volatility during May.
Bitcoin has partially rebounded following a collapse from its all-time high above $64,000. Early Wednesday, Bitcoin was rising 5.78% to $40,247. Despite all the recent erratic trading, the cryptocurrency has returned more than 38% so far in 2021.
The wild swings in cryptocurrencies could be partially blamed on Tesla TSLA CEO Elon Musk, who said earlier this year his electric vehicle company would accept Bitcoin payments only to reverse that to say Tesla was suspending payments using the token.
China's crackdown on Bitcoin mining and trading also pushed prices sharply lower.
5. -- Exxon Faces Off With Activists
Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report shareholders will vote Wednesday on whether to back new directors supported by activist investors who want the giant oil company to be more proactive on climate change.
Exxon's 12 directors are up for election on Wednesday. According to Reuters, preliminary vote results are expected by midday.
Activist Engine No. 1 has been pushing for the changes at Exxon. It holds just a 0.02% stake in Exxon, but it did get support from BlackRock (BLK) - Get BlackRock Inc. Report, Exxon's third-largest shareholder who supports three of Engine No. 1's four board candidates, according to Reuters.