Stock futures were rising on Thursday, a day after the three major indexes closed at record highs following data that showed an easing of inflation.

Up ahead, investors will eye results from Walmart which will come before the opening bell. Its shares were up roughly 1% premarket.

Overseas Markets

In China, property developers surged amid optimism that government entities will help revive the struggling real-estate sector by buying up excess housing. That helped boost stock indexes in the region.

Premarket Movers

AST SpaceMobile jumped 38% after the company reached a deal to provide satellite broadband to AT&T cell phones. AST SpaceMobile said the agreement extends until 2030.

Chubb was rising 11% after it was revealed as Berkshire Hathaway's mystery stock purchase. Warren Buffett's Berkshire disclosed in a filing that it held 25.9 million shares of the big property and casualty insurer at the end of the first quarter.

Cisco Systems reported better-than-expected revenue in the fiscal third quarter as the recently closed acquisition of Splunk boosted results. The company's forecast for sales was ahead of expectations after the company saw stabilizing demand in the period. Shares were rising 4.9%.

GameStop and AMC Entertainment both fell more than 10% premarket, following Wednesday's slide. The stocks are still holding onto hefty gains for the week.

Watch For:

Weekly Jobless Claims; Housing Starts for April; Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization for April; Earnings from Walmart, Applied Materials, Deere, Copart,, Baidu, Take-Two Interactive Software, Doximity, Under Armour, Canada Goose; Fedspeak from Loretta Mester and Raphael Bostic

Today's Top Headlines/Must Reads:

- America Is Still Headed for a Soft Landing

- The GameStop Mania Is Back. Is Wall Street Ready This Time?

- Surging Hospital Prices Are Helping Keep Inflation High



The U.S. exceptionalism narrative continued to show signs of softening, giving markets the perfect excuse to boost Fed rate-cut views and sell USD, OCBC said.

Retail sales and CPI data showed that economic activity and prices weren't reaccelerating, offering much-needed comfort for risk proxies, it said.

Still, USD's carry advantage may limit declines, with further weakness likely needing more soft data. DXY was last at 104.20, with bearish momentum on the daily chart intact.

OCBC pegs key support at 104. A clean break below could clear a path to 103.20. If 104 holds up, DXY could revert to range trading until the next dataset, OCBC said. It put resistance at 104.80 and 105.50.

EUR/USD has rallied around 1% this week thanks to the dollar's drop and the 1.0900 should not be a very strong resistance if U.S. data, for example jobless claims later in the day, adds pressure on the dollar, ING said.

"However, a move to the 1.1000 benchmark levels seems premature given the still sticky inflation picture in the U.S."

ING is less concerned with the European Central Bank generating much pressure on the euro leg, with a June rate cut being fully priced.

UOB Global Economics & Markets Research said EUR/USD may extend its recent uptrend, based on the weekly chart.

The currency pair surged above trendline resistance at 1.0855 earlier this week, which augurs well for further EUR/USD strength, it said.

EUR/USD's upward momentum is starting to build, with the weekly moving average convergence divergence indicator is heading into positive territory. On the upside, levels to watch are 1.0980-March's high-and 1.1020, the trendline connecting the highs of July 2023 and December 2023, UOB said.


Markets are currently pricing 51 basis points of interest-rate cuts by the Fed this year, with the September cut almost fully priced in, leaving limited room for rally in government bonds, Jefferies said.

"We are in the two rate-cut camp for the Fed, starting in September, and do not see much scope of a rally from current levels."

Hence, Jefferies said it would recommend investors tactically exit any bullish positions in front end [short-dated] Treasurys or Bunds.

Commerzbank Research said rates markets looked set to enter calmer waters after U.S. inflation and retail sales data caused the latest leg higher [in prices].

German Bunds should continue to be bought as ECB speeches and upcoming data look set to be supportive, it said.


Oil prices rose, buoyed by shrinking stockpiles and a wider risk-on mood following the easing U.S. inflation data, offering scope for looser Federal Reserve monetary policy and tugging the dollar lower, MUFG said.

Effective OPEC+ market management should ensure Brent remains in the $80-$100 a barrel range in 2024, with the base case seeing the group leveraging its inelastic pricing power and the ceiling from ample spare capacity to handle tightening shocks, MUFG said.


Gold futures were broadly flat, consolidating gains made following the U.S. inflation report.

MUFG said the precious metal is its most bullish commodity call for 2024, on a trifecta of eventual Fed rate cuts, supportive central bank demand and bullion's role as the geopolitical hedge of last resort.


A Legal Scholar Critiqued Elon Musk's Pay. Now He's Out of a Job

The fight over Tesla CEO Elon Musk's pay package has cost a well-known academic authority on corporate governance his consulting gig.

Last week, Charles Elson was preparing to file a legal brief criticizing a coming shareholder vote on a $46 billion pay package for Musk. That is when he got an email from the head of litigation at Holland & Knight, the law firm that has long handled Elson's work as an expert witness.

Baidu's Profit Drops But Still Beats Estimates

Chinese search-engine giant Baidu reported a drop in quarterly profit, but delivered top and bottom line beats, helped by online marketing revenue and AI cloud sales.

The Beijing-based company said Thursday that net profit in the first quarter fell 6.5% from a year earlier to 5.45 billion yuan ($754.9 million). The result topped the CNY4.11 billion expected by analysts in a FactSet poll.

Microsoft Asks Hundreds of China-Based AI Staff to Consider Relocating Amid U.S.-China Tensions

BEIJING-Microsoft is asking hundreds of employees in its China-based cloud-computing and artificial-intelligence operations to consider transferring outside the country, as tensions between Washington and Beijing mount around the critical technology.

Such staff, mostly engineers with Chinese nationality, were recently offered the opportunity to transfer to countries including the U.S., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, people familiar with the matter said. The company is asking about 700 to 800 people, who are involved in machine learning and other work related to cloud computing, one of the people said.

ECB Says Risks to Financial Stability Have Eased as Threat of Recession Recedes

The eurozone's financial system faces less acute threats to stability as it appears increasingly unlikely that the currency area's economy will slide into a deep recession, the European Central Bank said.

However, the central bank warned that geopolitical and policy uncertainty remains "elevated" and that the potential for economic or financial shocks remains "high."

Florida and Texas Show Signs of Home Prices Falling

Gary and Karen Steppe listed a condo in Indialantic, Fla., in February for $294,900. They expected the two-bedroom vacation home, which is in an oceanside town near Melbourne Beach, to sell quickly. But the couple initially received no bids.

One reason: A rising number of homeowners in the area were also looking to sell. With more properties on the market, "buyers didn't have that fear of missing out like they did when the inventory was less," Gary Steppe said.

Israeli Friendly Fire Kills Five Troops in Gaza Amid Mounting Divisions Over War

TEL AVIV-The Israeli military said Thursday that five of its soldiers were killed when an Israeli tank fired at a building in Gaza that was being used by its own troops, raising the war's toll on Israel amid pressure from hostage families and allies to end the fighting.

At least seven other soldiers were injured in the incident, which took place in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza on Wednesday evening, the military said. An Israeli tank fired two shells at the building after mistaking a group of Israeli paratroopers located inside for militants. Three of the wounded soldiers sustained serious injuries, said the military, adding that it is investigating the incident.

College Graduations Avoid Major Disruption as Tensions Abate

Some graduates topped their mortarboards with Palestinian flags and draped their shoulders with kaffiyehs, or held banners as they walked across the stage to shake hands with administrators and receive their diplomas. And some just walked out in protest at the start of speeches.

But universities' commencement ceremonies have largely occurred without significant disturbances in recent days, a welcome respite for schools whose springs semesters were marked by pro-Palestinian demonstrations and thousands of arrests. Campus protests peaked around May 1, according to the Crowd Counting Consortium, a public interest project tracking political activity around the U.S. There are now fewer than 40 encampments, down from about 80 two weeks ago.

Struggling in the Sunbelt and the West, Biden Tries to Fortify Blue Wall

WASHINGTON-President Biden's advisers view the "Blue Wall" states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as his most likely path to re-election, leading them to devote extensive time and resources there as the prospects of winning other battlegrounds appear more daunting.

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05-16-24 0619ET