U.S. stock futures were lower on Thursday after the Federal Reserve dampened talk about the tapering of monetary policy easing. However, a rise in COVID-19 Delta variant cases globally continues to take a toll on investor sentiment.
Dow futures were 0.5% weaker, S&P futures had slipped 0.37%, and Nasdaq futures were down 0.07% at the time of writing.
On Wednesday, there was some reprieve in the market after Powell reiterated there is no need to rush the shift towards a tighter post-pandemic monetary policy.
Morgan Stanley (MS), Progressive Corp. (PGR), Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK), and Home BancShares, Inc. (HOMB) are set to report their quarterly earnings before the market opens. Western Alliance Bancorp (WAL) and Neptune Wellness Solutions, Inc. (NEPT) will report after the market closes.
Alterity Therapeutics (ATHE) was the most actively traded stock in the pre-market session, with more than 3.8 million shares having already changed hands at the time of writing. The stock was up by about 14% after clinical trials showed that the company’s candidate drug ATH434 is ‘neuroprotective’ and can improve motor functions.
Huadi International Group (HUDI) was the biggest gainer in pre-market trading, jumping 29% at the time of writing. No fundamental news has been released to explain the pop. The company bills itself as a leading developer and manufacturer of industrial stainless steel pipes and tubes.
IMV Inc. (IMV) was the biggest loser before the bell, falling around 16% at the time of writing. The sell-off comes just a day after the clinical-stage immuno-oncology company announced that it has filed a preliminary prospectus supplement for a proposed public offering.
In M&A news AstraZeneca (AZN) has secured regulatory approval from the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority to proceed with the acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN). While the two are yet to confirm the terms of the deal, the transaction should close on July 21, resulting in the delisting of Alexion shares from the Nasdaq.
Meanwhile, Accenture Plc. (ACN) has reached an agreement to acquire cloud service provider Wabion for an undisclosed amount. The buyout will result in Wabion joining Accenture’s Google Cloud Business. The acquisition should strengthen the professional services company's global and local Cloud-first capabilities.
Alibaba (BABA) and Tencent (TCEHY) plan to open up their service and end long-running virtual barriers against each other's offerings. Citing unknown sources, the Wall Street Journal reports that it could be a matter of time before Alibaba introduces WeChat on its e-commerce platforms. Tencent, on the other hand, could end up making Alibaba listings available on WeChat.
The lifting of the virtual barriers on offerings is in response to the ongoing crackdown on tech giants by regulators in China.
Bank of America (BAC) shares fell 2.51% after the financial services company reported mixed second-quarter results. Net income came in better than expected at $9.2 billion, or $1.03 a share, against the $0.77 per share expected. Revenue, on the other hand, was down 4% to $21.5 billion, missing estimates of $21.83 billion.
eBay (EBAY) has reached an agreement that will result in it selling part of its stake in Adevinta to Permira. The company will sell 125 million shares of Adevinta valued at $2.25 billion. Permira has also been given an option to acquire an additional 10 million shares of Adevinta valued at $180 million.