Dow Futures, Apple, Nikola, FedEx - 5 Things You Must Know Tuesday

Stock futures rise as the Federal Reserve begins a two-day meeting; Apple holds its 'Time Flies' event; the SEC will examine Nikola over a short-seller's fraud claims.
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Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, Sept. 15:

1. -- Stock Futures Trade Higher

Stock futures were higher Tuesday, getting a lift from improving Chinese economic data, and as Wall Streets awaits the Federal Reserve's policy meeting.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 193 points, S&P 500 futures gained 24 points and Nasdaq futures were up 106 points.

Stocks closed broadly higher Tuesday after several big corporate deals lifted investor sentiment. The Dow rose 327 points, or 1.18%, to close at 27,993, the S&P 500 rose 1.27% and the Nasdaq jumped 1.87%.

Nvidia  (NVDA) - Get Report announced a $40 billion acquisition of chip designer Arm Holdings, while Gilead Sciences  (GILD) - Get Report said it was buying Immunomedics  (IMMU) - Get Report for $21 billion.

Oracle  (ORCL) - Get Report shares rose after the enterprise software giant beat out Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Report to become the “trusted technology provider” of China's TikTok, the popular video-sharing app.

“Wall Street appears to have recovered some of its mojo,” said Mizuho Bank in a report. “The question to ask, though, is whether we are dealing with optimism or there is just optimism about deals.”

2. -- Fed Meeting Begins, FedEx Reports Earnings

The economic calendar in the U.S. Tuesday includes the Empire State Manufacturing Index for September at 8:30 a.m. ET, Import and Export Prices for August at 8:30 a.m. and Industrial Production for August at 9:15 a.m.

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday begins a two-day meeting, with a decision on interest rates expected Wednesday afternoon. The central bank is expected to hold rates near zero and reaffirm its new, more relaxed stance on inflation.

Earnings reports are expected Tuesday from FedEx  (FDX) - Get Report, Adobe  (ADBE) - Get Report and Cracker Barrel  (CBRL) - Get Report.

3. -- Apple's 'Time Flies' Event - What to Expect

Apple's  (AAPL) - Get Report "Time Flies" event is scheduled for Tuesday and the focus reportedly will be on hardware, but not a new iPhone from the tech giant.

Apple's all-virtual showcase, which is open to the public, is expected to precede another iPhone unveiling later in the fall.

The "Time Flies" event is a reference to the Apple Watch, according to Bloomberg. Apple is preparing new low-end and high-end watches, as well as a new iPad Air, all of which will launch this fall. The company also is expected to launch iOS14, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, and macOS Big Sur in the coming weeks. 

"Lack of news on Apple's 5G-capable smartphone ... could be a bearish development for a stock that has lost momentum recently," said Apple Maven Daniel Martins. "Otherwise, it is all but certain that the Apple Watch Series 6 will be unveiled alongside at least one new iPad model. I would be pleasantly surprised to hear news on Apple One, the company's speculated services bundle."

Will There Be an iPhone 12?

4. -- SEC to Examine Nikola Over Short-Seller Fraud Claims

The Securities and Exchange Commission is examining Nikola  (NKLA) - Get Report to assess the merits of short-seller Hindenburg Research's allegations that the maker of electric trucks deceived investors about its business prospects, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A report last week from Hindenburg Research said it had collected data from phone calls, text messages and emails that detailed dozens of false statements from Nikola's founder and CEO Trevor Milton, sending the company's stock price sharply lower. Hindenburg accused Nikola of being "an intricate fraud built on dozens of lies."

Nikola, in a response Monday to the Hindenburg Research report, said the "opportunistic timing of its publication shortly after announcement of Nikola's partnership with General Motors  (GM) - Get Report and the resulting positive share price reaction, was designed to provide a false impression to investors and to negatively manipulate the market in order to financially benefit short-sellers, including Hindenburg itself."

Nikola said Monday it had contacted and briefed the SEC about its concerns over the Hindenburg report.

The SEC, Bloomberg reported, will examine Hindenburg’s claims to determine whether Nikola may have violated securities laws. The regulator’s review is preliminary and may not lead to allegations of wrongdoing, Bloomberg noted.

Shares of Nikola rebounded more than 11% Monday, but in premarket trading Tuesday declined 5.17% to $33.94.

5. -- Citigroup to Resume Job Cuts

Citigroup  (C) - Get Report will resume cutting jobs this week, joining banking rivals in ending earlier pledges to pause layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The bank said the cuts will affect less than 1% of its global workforce. With recent hiring, overall headcount probably won’t show any declines, Citigroup said.

“The decision to eliminate even a single colleague role is very difficult, especially during these challenging times,” Citigroup said in a statement. “We will do our best to support each person, including offering the ability to apply for open roles in other parts of the firm and providing severance packages.”

Separately, the bank is expected to receive a reprimand from federal regulators for failing to improve its risk-management systems, including continued deficiencies in its infrastructure and control functions, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The expected rebuke from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve sped up the timing of CEO Michael Corbat’s announcement that he would step down next year, Bloomberg noted.