Comcast, Cubist Jump Pre-market Amid Cautious Trading

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures hardly budged Wednesday as investors weighed stronger-than-expected reports on U.S. economic growth and the labor market against signs of rising wage inflation ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy announcement.

Futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.25 points, or 4.29 points above fair value, to 1,685. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 12 points, or 25.41 points below fair value, to 15,481. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 1.25 points, or 8.17 points above fair value, to 3,086.75.

A number of stocks were in focus in premarket trading Wednesday. Cubist Pharmaceuticals ( CBST) shares were gaining 5.5% to $60 in premarket trading. The company is making an aggressive move to expand its antibiotic business by acquiring both Optimer Pharmaceuticals ( OPTR) and Trius Therapeutics ( TSRX). Optimer was slipping 6.62% to $12.41, while Trius was soaring 18.27% to $13.85.

The deals are valued at $801 million and $818 million, if certain milestones are reached, respectively.

Another stock in the spotlight in the early hours was Air Products & Chemicals ( APD), which was rising 4.1% to $109.91. Activist investor William Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management purchased a 9.8% stake in the $22 billion industrial gas company Air Products & Chemicals, according to CNBC. The stake is valued at $2.2 billion, making it Ackman's largest investment ever by cost, the network reported.

Symantec ( SYMC ) was adding on 5.5% to $25.70 after the software maker edged past Wall Street's estimates in its first-quarter results, released after the close of trading on Tuesday, boosted by strength in its security and backup businesses.

Comcast ( CMCSA) was jumping 4.1% to $44.45 after the cable giant posted second-quarter earnings that squeezed past estimates by two cents at 65 cents a share as revenue surpassed expectations amid robust growth in its high-speed internet business.

SodaStream ( SODA) was surging more than 7% to $62.60 after the home beverage carbonation systems company reported second-quarter profit of 74 cents a share, exceeding the Wall Street consensus target by 18 cents as operating income grew at a faster pace than revenue.

The private payroll employment report from Automatic Data Processing on Thursday showed a stronger-than-expected gain of 200,000 for July versus an upwardly-revised 198,000 in June. Expectations were for a gain of 180,000 for July, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of economists.

The advanced estimate for second-quarter gross domestic product rose by a greater-than-expected 1.7% after a downwardly-revised 1.1% increase in the first quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Economists were expecting a rise by 1% for the second quarter.

Wage inflation pressures increased in the second quarter, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The employment cost index increased more than expected with a 0.5% rise for the second quarter, up from a 0.3% gain in the first quarter. Economists were expecting an increase of 0.4%.

The July Chicago Purchasing Manager Index at 9:45 a.m. is forecast to show a rise to 54 after falling to 51.6 in June.

The policy-making arm of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Open Market Committee, announces the results of its July 30 to July 31 policy meeting at 2 p.m.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 3/32, raising the yield to 2.624%. The dollar was falling 0.07% to $81.77 according to the U.S. dollar index.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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