The Thursday Market Minute

  • Dow and S&P futures up after China said it would resume trade talks in late August.
  • Walmart shares jump more than 9% on earnings beat while JC Penney shares tank
  • Symantec shares surge in premarket after Starboard reports a 5.8% stake in the company. 
  • European markets climbed on news of the fresh talks.
  • The U.S. dollar index fell for the first time in six days.

Market Snapshot

U.S. equity futures edged higher on Thursday on hopes of a de-escalation of trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

U.S. futures gained early in the European trading session on the news of fresh U.S.-China talks with S&P 500 futures up 0.43% and Dow Jones futures gaining 0.79%. 

The three major U.S. stock market indexes fell Wednesday, with the Dow falling more than more than 0.5%, or 136 points, to 25,163, while the S&P 500 fell 0.8%, and the Nasdaq fell 1.2%.

Walmart Inc. (WMT) jumped more than 9% in premarket trading after a massive earnings beat. The world's biggest retailer reported profit of $1.29 a share, against analysts expectations of$1.22 a share, and revenue of $128.03 billion, compared with expectations of $125.97 billion. The retailer also lifted full-year guidance, with adjusted EPS expected to be between $4.90 to $5.05.

JC Penney (JCP)  shares tanked more than 20% after the retailer's quarterly earnings and revenue missed analyst expectations. The company reported an adjusted loss per share of 38 cents, against expectations of a 6 cents loss. 

Amazon is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS

Amazon shares were up 1.02% in premarket trading on reports that it has been sounding out some of Europe's top insurance firms to see if they would contribute products to a U.K. price comparison website. Reuters reported that the move would be a major foray by the online retailing giant into the region's financial services.

Symantec Corp. (SYMC) shares were surged 6.2% in premarket trading after Starboard Value LP reported a 5.8% stake in the company. The activist investor said in a regulatory filing that the shares were "undervalued" and represented an "attractive investment opportunity." Starboard has nominated a slate of director candidates to the board.

JD.com Inc.'s (JD) shares fell more than 6% in premarket trading after China's second largest e-commerce firm reported a 31.2% rise in second-quarter revenue, falling short of analysts' expectations. The Nasdaq listed company earnings per share came in at 0.33 yuan, against estimates of 0.37 yuan. JD.com reported revenue of 122.3 billion yuan ($17.73 for the three months to the end of June, but analysts had expected 122.7 billion yuan.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar fell for the first time in six days as investors moved back into risk assets, with the dollar index falling 0.14% to $96.556.

What we are hearing on the dollar.

China and the U.S. will resume talks in late August on "economic and trade issues of mutual concern," according to a statement on the Chinese Ministry of Commerce web site overnight.

Wang Fuwen, deputy minister of the Ministry of Commerce will lead a delegation to the U.S. to meet with U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary David Malpass, according to the statement, which added that the meeting comes at the invitation of the U.S.

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.36%. London's FTSE 100 gained 0.58%, after losing 1.7% on Wednesday. France's CAC 40 was up 0.60% and Germany's DAX was up 0.47%.

Atlantia SpA (ATASY) , the operator of the bridge in Genoa that collapsed, shares fell more than 25% after the Italian government said it plans to strip the group's Autostrade per l'Italia unit of highway concessions and fine it heavily. The company warned that there will be a financial hit to shareholders. Autostrade operates almost half of the country's highway network.

At least 39 people died when a section of the Morandi bridge in the northern Italian city of Genoa collapsed in heavy rain on Monday.

The Italian-Spanish infrastructure operator's biggest shareholder, Edizione, said that it will do everything in its power to establish what happened and who is responsible.

The share plunge led Italy's FTSE MIB to its lowest level in 16 months, with a fall of 1.52%. Other toll-road operators Societa Iniziative Autostradali e Servi saw drop 8.82% and ASTM SpA fell 7.3% after Italian deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio said the state would take over the country's highways if the concession holders couldn't do the job properly. 

Danish brewer Carlsberg (CABGY) saw shares gain 3.38% Thursday after it saw sales and profits rise more than expected on the back of the soccer World Cup and a warmer than usual summer in Europe. The world's third largest brewer said it now expects underlying growth in operating profit to be high single-digit percentage, compared with previous forecasts of mid single-digits. 

Marks & Spencer Group plc (MAKSY) shares were up 1.25% to 298.8 pence after it enlisted Twilio Inc. (TWLO) to upgrade its customer communications capabilities. 

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