Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Jan. 16:
1. -- Stock Futures Cautiously Higher After Brexit Defeat, Concerns Over U.S.-China Trade
U.S. stock futures were higher on Wednesday, Jan. 16, and global stocks traded mixed after a crushing Brexit defeat for U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and as investors worried that progress in U.S.-China trade talks may have stalled following reported comments from Washington's top negotiator.
May suffered the worst defeat in U.K. parliamentary history on Tuesday when her proposed withdrawal agreement, which would have seen Britain exit the European Union in March, was defeated by 230 votes, including 100 members of her own party. The humiliating verdict triggered an immediate vote of no confidence in her government, which will debated later Wednesday.
The FTSE 100 in London declined 0.46% on Wednesday.
Stocks in Asia were unsettled by comments reportedly from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, as told to reporters by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, that U.S.-China trade talks weren't progressing as well as investors may have anticipated.
"(Lighthizer) said that there hasn't been any progress made on structural changes that need to be made," Grassley told the media during a conference call. "Let's say that would include intellectual property, stealing trade secrets, putting pressure on corporations to share information with the Chinese government and industries."
"So structure-wise not much progress, but the Chinese are coming over here in a couple weeks and there will be more negotiations," Grassley added.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 33 points, futures for the S&P 500 rose 3.25 points, and Nasdaq futures gained 2.50 points.
Stocks rose Tuesday as Wall Street digested a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings report from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) but got a lift from price hikes at Netflix Inc. (NFLX) and signals from China that it would boost stimulus.
The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes Import and Export Prices for December at 8:30 a.m. ET, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for January at 10 a.m., and Oil Inventories for the week ended Jan. 11, at 10:30 a.m.
Retail Sales for December won't be released because of the U.S. government shutdown, which is now in its 26th day.
2. -- Bank of America, Goldman Sachs Report Earnings
3. -- Eddie Lampert's Bid for Sears Prevails in Bankruptcy Auction - Reports
Eddie Lampert, the chairman of bankrupt retailer Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLDQ) , reportedly has won the right to purchase the iconic U.S. department store chain for $5.2 billion following weeks of negotiations with creditors.
ESL Investments, Lampert's hedge fund, raised its previous bid of $5 billion in a closed-door bankruptcy auction by adding more cash and assuming more liabilities for the 126-year old retailer, both Reuters and Bloomberg reported, citing sources close to the proceedings.
One group of creditors, however, was still protesting the sale, which must be approved by Judge Robert D. Drain of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in White Plains, Reuters reported. If cleared, the deal will keep around 425 Sears stores open and operating and save as many as 50,000 jobs.
Sears sought bankruptcy protection on Oct. 15, 2018, ahead of a looming debt repayment with plans to close 142 stores and reorganize or sell the core locations. At the time of the filing, Sears operated fewer than 700 Sears and Kmart stores. The retailer subsequently said it would close an additional 40 locations and then said in December it would close 80 more Sears and Kmart stores later in 2019.
4. -- United Jumps as Earnings, Revenue Beat Wall Street Forecasts
United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) jumped 6% in premarket trading Wednesday after the airline posted earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street's expectations.
Adjusted earnings in the quarter were $2.41 a share, higher than $1.44 a share a year earlier and above analysts' predictions of $1.99. Revenue rose to $10.5 billion from $9.45 billion a year earlier, and topped forecasts of $10.3 billion.
"United delivered proof, not just promises in 2018 - even in the face of significant headwinds from higher than expected fuel costs," said CEO Oscar Munoz.
5. -- Snap Sinks After Sudden Resignation of Chief Financial Officer
Snap Inc. (SNAP) tumbled 9.5% in premarket trading Wednesday following the sudden resignation of Chief Financial Officer Tim Stone after just eight months with the company.
Stone is the third top executive to leave the social media company in the past four months. His departure was "not related to any disagreement with us on any matter relating to our accounting, strategy, management, operations, policies, regulatory matters, or practices," the company said.
Stone came to Snap from Amazon.com Inc. in May 2018. He will remain with Snap through the publication of the company's fourth-quarter and full-year earnings on Feb. 5. Snap said those figures are likely to come in at the higher end of the company's previous guidance.
"We are finalizing our fourth-quarter 2018 financial results and expect to report revenue and adjusted EBITDA results that are slightly favorable to the top end of our previously reported quarterly guidance ranges for each," Snap said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.