Here are five things you must know for Thursday, Aug. 16:
1. -- Stocks Get Boost From Renewal of U.S.-China Trade Talks
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average
China said it would send a delegation to Washington later this month for talks. The visit was at the invitation of the U.S., the Chinese Commerce Ministry said.
The group led by a deputy commerce minister will visit in late August to discuss "issues of mutual concern," the Commerce Ministry announced. No details of an agenda were released, according to the Associated Press.
The two biggest world economies are set impose a new round of tariff hikes on $16 billion of each other's goods next week in their worsening conflict over Beijing's technology policy.
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes Housing Starts for July at 8:30 a.m. ET, weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. and Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey for August at 8:30 a.m.
2. -- Walmart, Nvidia, Nordstrom Highlight Thursday's Earnings Calendar
Walmart Inc. (WMT) earned $1.29 a share in the second quarter, beating estimates by 7 cents, as revenue of $128.03 billion also topped forecasts. U.S. same-store sales rose 4.5%, ahead of forecasts of 2.3%.
The world's largest retailer raised its fiscal-year earnings guidance, saying it now expects adjusted profit of $4.90 to $5.05 a share from previous guidance of $4.75 to $5.
Shares jumped 10.7% in premarket trading.
J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) tumbled 25% in premarket trading on Thursday after the company reported an adjusted loss in the second-quarter of 38 cents a share, wider than estimates that called for a loss of 6 cents. Sales were $2.83 billion, down from $3.07 billion a year earlier. Analysts expected sales of $2.81 billion.
The department store retailer said same-store sales rose 0.3% in the quarter; analysts expected growth of 1%.
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3. -- Cisco Shares Rise on Forecast for Revenue Growth
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) shares were rising 6.6% in premarket trading on Thursday after the networking giant posted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share, beating estimates by a penny, and revenue of $12.84 billion, which also came in higher than forecasts.
The company also guided for fiscal first-quarter earnings between 70 cents and 72 cents a share with a 5% increase in year-over-year revenue to $12.61 billion. For the October quarter, analysts expect Cisco to report earnings of 69 cents a share on revenue of $12.58 billion.
Cisco has pinned much of its growth on its software and services business. Revenue from subscriptions represented 56% of total software revenue in the first quarter, the company said.
"We're seeing the returns on the investments we are making in innovation and driving the shift to more software and subscriptions," Chief Financial Officer Kelly Kramer said in a conference call following the release of earnings on Wednesday.
4. -- Amazon Considers U.K. Insurance Comparison Site - Report
The move would be a major foray by the online retailing giant into the region's financial services, Reuters noted.
Three industry executives told Reuters they had held talks with Amazon about the possible launch of a site. One said the talks were part of several discussions Amazon was having with insurers. A second executive said Amazon had no imminent launch plans.
"As Amazon becomes a larger part of the home, whether it's products delivered to the home, security monitoring, home services like Wi-Fi installation, you can make the case that insurance is the next logical step for this company," Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy told Reuters.
5. -- Uber's Losses Narrow and Sales Jump 63%
Uber Technologies Inc. said second-quarter revenue jumped 63% from a year earlier to $2.8 billion, while the ride-hailing company's losses in the quarter narrowed to $891 million from $1.06 billion.
Gross bookings were $12 billion, up 41% from a year earlier. Excluding operations that have been sold during the past year, gross bookings rose 49%.
"We had another great quarter, continuing to grow at an impressive rate for a business of our scale," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said. "Going forward, we're deliberately investing in the future of our platform."