North American equity index futures ticked lower ahead of Wednesday’s mid-week open, as market participants continue to search for clarity surrounding trade negotiations between the US and China.

Trade tensions between the two economic titans have long cast a shadow over global markets amid concerns that tariffs are taking a long-term toll on global economic activity and corporate earnings. As developments unfold, investors will remain keen to piece together clues and look to strike hope of a long-awaited breakthrough between Beijing and Washington.

Moves in pre-market trading come after Tuesday’s session, where stocks finished lower as Wall Street weighed-in these prospects of a comprehensive trade deal against fragile global economic growth.

The S&P 500 swung between gains and losses throughout the day, but closed down -0.14% at session-end; the benchmark is now positioned to resume trading with a second consecutive daily decline and its fifth drop in six sessions. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite ended slightly higher, up +0.07%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down -0.03%.

Moving forward, Wednesday’s economic calendar holds host to an ADP Employment Change figure, to be released at 8:15am EST, shortly followed by Import and Export data at 8:30am EST, with Crude Oil Inventories for the week ended March 1, to be released into the morning session, at 10:30am EST.

In corporate news; Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Dollar Tree (DLTR), American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) and BJ’s Wholesale Club (BJ) are amongst the major companies scheduled to issue their earnings today.


North Korea: North Korean Launch Site Is Being Built Back Up Again. (The WSJ) North Korea is restoring a missile launch site it previously claimed to be dismantling as an overture to the US, according to newly released commercial satellite photos and people briefed on South Korean intelligence. The move has sparked concerns that North Korea may be wavering on some of the gestures it made to demonstrate its willingness to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

China & Markets: Trump Pushes for China Deal in Hope of Fueling Market Rally. (Bloomberg) President Donald Trump is pressuring US trade negotiators to cut a deal with China soon in hope of fueling a market rally, as he grows increasingly concerned that the lack of an agreement could drag down stocks, according to people familiar with the matter.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR: Today’s Economical Announcements

08:15AM – ★★★ – Nonfarm Employment (Feb) (Previous: 213K) 08:30AM – ★★☆ – Exports (Previous: 209.90B) 08:30AM – ★★☆ – Imports (Previous: 259.20B) 08:30AM – ★★☆ – Trade Balance (Dec) (Previous: -49,30B) 10:30AM – ★★★ – Crude Oil Inventories (Previous: -8.647M)

STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks

Nio (NIO): [EARNINGS] Posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss, with the Chinese electric car maker saying deliveries of its flagship SUV model slower than expected.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF): [EARNINGS] Beat estimates by 20 cents with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.35 per share. Revenue beat forecasts.

Thor Industries (THO): [EARNINGS] Posted adjusted quarterly profit of 65 cents per share, missing the consensus estimate of $1.05 a share. Revenue below forecasts. Thor said a primary issue during the quarter was balancing production with market demand, with wholesale shipments declining relative to retail sales as dealers worked through existing inventories.

Ambarella (AMBA): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of 14 cents per share, 10 cents a share above estimates. Revenue above forecasts.

Dollar Tree (DLTR): [EARNINGS] Came in a penny a share ahead of consensus, with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.93 per share. Revenue topped forecasts, and Dollar Tree announced a store optimization program.

General Electric (GE): [REVIEW] Bank of America cut its price target on GE to $12 per share from $13 a share after GE CEO Larry Culp said the company’s industrial cash flow would be negative this year. J.P. Morgan Securities analyst Stephen Tusa, one of the Street’s most bearish GE analysts, said that his current $6 price target “looks generous” in light of the information presented by Culp yesterday at his company’s investment conference.

BJ’s Wholesale (BJ): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of 44 cents per share, beating estimates by 8 cents a share. Revenue beat forecasts.

TripAdvisor (TRIP): [DOWNGRADE] Cowen downgraded the travel website operator to “underperform” from “market perform,” pointing to a slow start to 2019, the prospect of fewer visitors, and a shift by younger demographics to Google for travel help.

Mylan (MYL): [UPGRADE] Morgan Stanley upgraded Mylan to “overweight” from “equal-weight”. Morgan Stanley said Mylan is trading near historical valuation lows and that its business prospects appear set to improve.

Urban Outfitters (URBN): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of 83 cents per share, 4 cents a share above estimates. Revenue matched estimates.

Ross Stores (ROST): [EARNINGS] Beat estimates by 7 cents ahsre, with profit of $1.20 per share for its latest quarter. Revenue beat estimates.

Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA): [DOWNGRADE] Morgan Stanley downgraded Teva to “equal-weight from “overweight”. The firm said that all the factors leading to Teva’s premium valuation have been priced into the stock.

Philip Morris (PM): [NEWS] The tobacco producer circumvented an India ban on foreign direct investment by paying manufacturing costs to its Indian partner, according to internal company documents seen by Reuters.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): [NEWS] J&J received Food and Drug Administration approval to market its antidepressant nasal spray, the first new depression treatment in more than 30 years.

Newmont Mining (NEM): [NEWS] Newmont CEO Gary Goldberg and Barrick Gold CEO Mark Bristow had a “constructive” meeting Tuesday night in New York, according to a Newmont executive, and the two are likely to meet again. Newmont has rejected a takeover bid from Barrick, with Barrick subsequently proposing a possible joint venture involving Nevada properties.