Here are five things you must know for Thursday, Feb. 14:
1. -- Stocks Rise as Higher-Level Trade Discussions Begin
U.S. stock futures rose on Thursday, Feb. 14, and global shares edged cautiously higher, boosted by signals of moderate progress in trade talks between Washington and Beijing and data showing a surprise jump in China export activity.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters in Beijing he was "looking forward to discussions" Thursday as he headed off to meetings with China's Vice Premier Liu He in the Chinese capital. Donald Trump has said several times this week that talks are going "very well," and Bloomberg reported that he has considered expanding the March 2 trade deal deadline by 60 days in order to ensure that a comprehensive deal ultimately is reached between the world's two biggest economies.
Trade data from China's customs office also was broadly positive, with exports rising 9.1% from last year, compared with a 4.4% decline in December, offsetting another dip in overall imports of 1.5%. China's trade surplus with the United States remained elevated at $27.3 billion, but a 42% slump in U.S. imports, led by a big decline in soybean purchases, likely adds pressure on both sides of the negotiations to reach a deal.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 108 points, futures for the S&P 500 were up 10 points, and Nasdaq futures rose 32 points. Stocks ended higher on Wednesday amid optimism over progress in the trade talks.
The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Producer Price Index for January at 8:30 a.m., Retail Sales for December at 8:30 a.m., and Business Inventories for November at 10 a.m.
2. -- Cisco Systems Jumps on Robust Outlook
Networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO - Get Report) rose 4.3% in premarket trading Thursday after reporting fiscal second-quarter profit and revenue that beat analysts' forecasts, and after hiking its quarterly dividend by 6% and boosting its buyback plan by $15 billion.
Adjusted earnings in the quarter were 73 cents a share on revenue of $12.45 billion. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 72 cents a share on revenue of $12.42 billion. Software sales rose 24% to $1.47 billion in the quarter, with about 65% of the total coming from subscription sales.
Cisco said it expects third-quarter earnings of 76 cents to 78 cents a share on revenue growth between 4% and 6%. Analysts predicted third-quarter earnings of 76 cents a share on revenue growth of 3%.
The company said that it continues to compete well in China, the world's largest market, and hasn't yet felt the impact of trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
"I think our portfolio right now from an innovation perspective, and particularly with the work the teams are doing in the SP space and the work that we're doing around the 5G packet core and some of these next generation platforms that are going to hit the market this year, I would put our innovation up against there as anybody else's in the world right now," CEO Chuck Robbins told investors on a conference call.
"We continue to view Cisco as a direct beneficiary of this IT spending dynamic and believe shares will continue to grind higher as margins improve on the back of DRAM price-related tailwinds and as the revenue stream continues to morph into one based more on software sales, especially as those software sales become increasingly made up of subscription sales," said Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS team, which holds Cisco in its portfolio.
3. -- Coca-Cola and Nvidia Report Earnings Thursday
Coca-Cola Co. (KO - Get Report) earned 43 cents a share on an adjusted basis in the fourth quarter, matching analysts' estimates but noted that 2019 organic revenue growth would slow and comparable earnings would likely remain flat thanks in part to a stronger U.S. dollar. The stock was down 3% in premarket trading.
4. -- Airbus to Scrap A380 Jumbo Jet Program
Franco-German planemaker Airbus SE (EADSY) , a rival to Boeing Co. (BA - Get Report) , posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, issued a robust 2019 outlook for aircraft deliveries and said it would formally scrap its struggling A380 jumbo jet program.
The last of Airbus' A380s, a two-deck, 544-seat jumbo aircraft designed to challenge Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, will be delivered in 2021, the company said. Last year Airbus warned it would have "no choice but to shut down" the program, which builds the largest passenger planes in the world, "if we can't work out a deal with Emirates," the largest carrier in the Middle East and the super jumbo's biggest buyer.
Emirates, which snubbed Airbus at the Dubai Airshow in November 2017 when it opted for 787s at a list price of $15.1 billion, has purchased around 100 A380s over its decade-long existence, making it by far the most important buyer in the program.
5. -- Yelp's Fourth-Quarter Earnings Smash Estimates
Yelp Inc. (YELP - Get Report) rose 2.8% in premarket trading Thursday after the online review company posted fourth-quarter earnings of 37 cents a share, smashing estimates of 10 cents, and said it was replacing three board members.
Revenue in the quarter was $243.7 million, which also beat expectations of $241.1 million.
Yelp said it expected to "exit 2019 with strong revenue growth."
The company also announced it was replacing three board members after receiving pressure from large shareholder SQN Investors LP, a hedge fund.
George Hu, Sharon Rothstein and Brian Sharples will replace Geoff Donaker, Jeremy Levine, and Peter Fenton as board members, Yelp said.