Here are five things you must know for Friday, Aug. 24:
1. -- Stocks Rise Ahead of Powell's Speech at Jackson Hole
U.S. stock futures traded higher on Friday, Aug. 24, ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's address at the annual conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and despite trade talks between the U.S. and China ending without progress.
The dollar slipped and Treasuries steadied as investors will look Friday to Powell's comments on the Fed's rate-hike forecast, and to see whether Powell responds to recent criticism from Donald Trump.
Trump told Reuters earlier this week that he was "not thrilled" with the Fed's rate increases under Powell, his own appointee, and that he should be "given some help" by the central bank as he threatens China with a trade war that has weighed on stock-market sentiment.
Powell's speech at Jackson Hole is expected to begin at 10 a.m. ET.
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Friday also includes Durable Goods Orders for July at 8:30 a.m.
Foot Locker Inc. (FL) - Get Report reported fiscal earnings and sales for its fiscal second quarter that topped analysts' expectations. Same-store sales of 0.5%, however, came in below forecasts that called for an increase of 0.7%. The stock rose 0.8% in premarket trading.
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2. -- Microsoft Is Being Probed Over Deals in Hungary - Report
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) - Get Reportis being investigated by U.S. authorities over potential bribery and corruption related to software sales in Hungary, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into how Microsoft sold software such as Word and Excel to middleman firms in Hungary that then sold those products to government agencies there in 2013 and 2014, according to the people.
Microsoft sold some of its products to these intermediaries at steep discounts, and then these firms sold the products to the Hungarian government at closer to full price, the people told the Journal. Investigators are probing whether the middleman companies used the difference to pay bribes and kickbacks to government officials, the people said.
Microsoft said it moved quickly to investigate itself after it became aware of "potential wrongdoing" at its Hungarian operations in 2014, according to a statement to the Journal from David Howard, the software giant's deputy general counsel. Microsoft said it's cooperating with the Justice Department and SEC.
3. -- Facebook Names a New Chief Marketing Officer
Speaking of HP, the printer and computer maker fell 3% in premarket trading on Friday after its fiscal third-quarter results topped Wall Street estimates but earnings guidance disappointed.
The company raised its forecast for full-year adjusted profit to between $2 and $2.03 a share, up from previous guidance of $1.97 to $2.02 a share. Analysts expect full-year profit of $2 a share.
4. -- Gap Tumbles as Sales at Its Namesake Brand Fall
Shares of Gap Inc. (GPS) - Get Report tumbled 7.5% in premarket trading on Friday after the retailer posted second-quarter earnings and sales above analysts' forecasts but same-store sales at its namesake brand fell 5%.
Gap earned 76 cents a share in its fiscal second quarter, 5 cents higher than estimates, as sales rose 8% to $4.1 billion.
Comparable-store sales at Old Navy rose 5%, and gained 2% at Banana Republic. Same-store sales for Gap stores fell 5% compared with a decline of 1% a year earlier.
5. -- Tesla Model 3 Teardown Finds Quality Issues
"The engineers performed a fit & finish quality audit looking at 1,500-2,000 gap measurements in the vehicle in order to come up with an overall quality score. The Model 3 scored 2,390 which is in the below average range. In addition, the team independently rated the noise within the vehicle, finding the body/wind noise as "borderline acceptable."
"Neither score is impressive for a car that is priced at $49,000," said UBS analyst Colin Langan.
While UBS acknowledged the test car was an early model and Tesla has since tried to address some issues, it came away thinking that fixing Model 3 build quality won't happen easily.
"In our experts' opinions, the manufacturing issues around gaps and noise are much larger structural issues and do not lend themselves to being fixed quickly," said Langan. "Their view is that many of the issues have to do with the basics of stamping out frame parts or the attachment thereof, which requires extensive retooling investment and shutdown time to fix."