Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Feb. 13:
1. -- Stocks Higher on Optimism Over a U.S.-China Trade Deal
U.S. stock futures rose modestly on Wednesday, Feb. 13, and global stocks were up for a third session amid optimism that the-self imposed deadline for a trade deal between the U.S. and China could be extended if the two sides make progress in reaching an agreement.
Donald Trump raised the prospect of an extension to the March 2 end date, when tariffs on $200 billion worth of China-made goods could increase to 25% from 10%.
"If we're close to a deal where we think we can make a real deal and it's going to get done, I could see myself letting that slide for a little while," Trump said. "But generally speaking, I'm not inclined to do that ... we're doing very well over in China."
The modestly softer tone, which came ahead of key talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and China Vice Premier Liu He on Thursday and Friday in Beijing, suggested the two sides see some progress on key issues such as alleged intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers that have been held as sticking points to a comprehensive agreement by officials in Washington.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 80 points, futures for the S&P 500 rose 6.75 points, and Nasdaq futures gained 32 points.
The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the Consumer Price Index for January at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect consumer prices to have risen 0.1% in January after declining 0.1% the prior month. Core CPI is forecast to rise 0.2%. CPI for the last 12 months is expected at 1.5% while core CPI is forecast at 2.1%.
The calendar also includes Oil Inventories for the week ended Feb. 8.
2. -- Cisco and DISH Network Report Earnings Wednesday
The company said net pay-TV subscribers fell by about 334,000 in the quarter, wider than forecasts that called for a decrease of 245,000. The stock fell 6.5% in premarket trading.
Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and guided for a solid start to 2019, easing concerns of a slowdown in global travel as the economy cools and oil prices rise. Shares rose 2.3%.
Earnings reports are also expected Wednesday from Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO - Get Report) , Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO - Get Report) , Fossil Group Inc. (FOSL - Get Report) , Yelp Inc. (YELP - Get Report) , NetApp Inc. (NTAP - Get Report) and MGM Resorts International (MGM - Get Report) .
3. -- Activision Blizzard Rises as Cost-Cutting Program Offsets Weaker Outlook
Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI - Get Report) rose 2.2% in premarket trading Wednesday after the video game maker unveiled a stock buyback and cost-cutting program that offset a weaker-than-expected profit outlook for what the company called a "transition year" in 2019.
Activision Blizzard posted fourth-quarter adjusted profit of $1.29 a share, 1 cent above analysts' estimates, on sales of $2.84 billion that missed forecasts. Activision said it expects adjusted earnings in 2019 of $2.10 a share on sales of about $6.3 billion, both of which were well shy of Wall Street forecasts.
However, the market impact was muted to a degree by Activision's plans to purchase $1.5 billion worth of stock and cut 800 jobs -- around 8% of its total workforce -- as it shifts resources to game development.
"Our 2019 outlook assumes that we will not improve in-game monetization as quickly as we would like, and that it is a transition year where we have less new major content to release than we should," Chief Operating officer Cody Johnson told investors on a conference call. "So we have worked with our new business unit leaders to undertake a comprehensive examination of our business to determine the changes we need to make to improve execution and capitalize on the substantial long-term growth opportunities for our company."
"We've determined that we need to refocus our best resources on our biggest opportunities and to remove an unnecessary level of complexity and duplication that is built up in certain parts of the business," he added.
Activision did say, however, that the "number of developers working on Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Overwatch, Warcraft, Hearthstone and Diablo in aggregate will increase approximately 20% over the course of 2019."
4. -- Twilio Declines on Weak First-Quarter Outlook
Twilio Inc. (TWLO - Get Report) declined 3.3% in premarket trading after fourth-quarter revenue topped analysts' estimates but earnings fell flat and it issued a weak profit outlook for the first quarter.
The cloud communications company reported revenue of $204.3 million in the quarter, a year-over-year increase of 77%. It had previously guided for total revenue between $183 million and $185 million.
Twilio reported adjusted earnings of 4 cents a share, while analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of between 3 cents and 10 cents a share.
The company, which builds communication-as-a-service APIs and other tools, said it expects adjusted first-quarter earnings at break-even to 1 cent a share, below forecasts that called for 2 cents. Twilio said it expects revenue in the quarter of between $222 million and $225 million, higher than estimates of $192 million.
5. -- T-Mobile and Sprint to Defend Their Merger Before Congress
Executives from T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS - Get Report) and Sprint Corp. (S - Get Report) will defend their $26.5 billion merger in front of a skeptical Congress Wednesday, arguing that joining their companies won't hurt competition or raise wireless service prices.
The deal, which must win approval from federal regulators, would combine the nation's third- and fourth-largest wireless companies, creating a new company roughly the size of telecom giants Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ - Get Report) and AT&T Inc. (T - Get Report) .
Complicating their task, according to a report from the Associated Press, is the fact that urban consumers are paying 22% less for cellphone service following AT&T's failed bid to acquire T-Mobile in 2011, a combination rejected by federal regulators as anticompetitive. The data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics price index for wireless telephone service, the AP reported.
The hearing Wednesday will begin at 10 a.m. The hearing's title is "Protecting Consumers and Competition: An Examination of the T-Mobile and Sprint Merger."