North American equity futures traded cautiously lower into the early hours of Wednesday morning, as investors kept a close eye on US-China trade links, corporate earnings and a Justice Department antitrust probe wild-swing against some of Wall Street’s leading tech-names. 

Supporting the stock market’s most recent steep 2-month rally in risk asset prices comes a report, from Bloomberg, that Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, and senior US officials are set to travel to China next Monday for high-level face-to-face trade negotiations.

This will resume talks that had been on pause since June, after Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, had agreed continue negotiations at their G-20 meeting.

Weighing in against these trade developments are declines in tech-titan shares; Facebook (FB), Alphabet (GOOGL), (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL), which fell in after-hours trading, following the launch of a US Justice Department broad antitrust review into whether dominant technology firms are unlawfully stifling competition.

This morning’s decline looks to take a step back from yesterday’s gains, where US stocks joined a global equity advance, as the prospect of further easing by central banks provided support, while positive earnings sentiment across both Europe and the US helped lighten the mood. 

The S&P 500 ended near session highs with a gain of +0.72%, its biggest one-day rise since July 3 and its first close above the 3,000 point-mark in a week.

Ahead, in today’s economic calendar, Wednesday includes; Manufacturing and Services PMI figures for July at 9:45am EST, New Home Sales for June at 10am EST, followed by Oil Inventories for the week ended July 19 at 10:30am EST. 

In corporate news, Tesla (TSLA), Boeing (BA), Facebook (FB), Ford (F), Caterpillar (CAT), Celgene (CELG), AT&T (T), Allergan (AGN), PayPal (PYPL), Northrop Grumman (NOC), General Dynamics (GD), Norfolk Southern (NSC), Xilinx (XLNX) and United Parcel Service (UPS) are amongst the major companies scheduled to report their earnings today.

Technology & Politics: Trump DOJ Escalates Big Tech Scrutiny With New Antitrust Probe. (Bloomberg)
The US Justice Department sent the strongest signal yet that it’s prepared to take on technology giants like Facebook and Google, announcing a broad antitrust review into whether the companies are using their power to thwart competition.

Today's Economical Announcements.

09:45AM - ★★☆ - Manufacturing PMI (Jul) (Previous: 50.6)
09:45AM - ★★☆ - Services PMI (Jul) (Previous: 51.5)
10:00AM - ★★★ - New Home Sales (Jun) (Previous: 626,000)
10:30AM - ★★★ - Crude Oil Inventories (Previous: -3.116M)

Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks.

Snap (SNAP): [EARNINGS] Lost 6 cents per share for its latest quarter, 4 cents a share less than analysts had anticipated. Revenue also topped forecasts, helped by its strongest user growth since it became a public company.

iRobot (IRBT): [NEWS & GUIDANCE] The company said tariffs resulting from the trade dispute between the US and China will weigh on company results throughout this year. iRobot cut its full-year earnings guidance to a range of $2.40-$3.15 per share from the prior $3.15-$3.40 per share.

Texas Instruments (TXN): [EARNINGS] Beat consensus forecasts by 7 cents a share, with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.29 per share. The chipmaker’s revenue came in above estimates as well. The stock is getting a boost from the results, especially in light of the company’s previous warning about a slowdown in demand that may last for a few more quarters.

Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Alphabet (GOOGL), Apple (AAPL): [NEWS] The Justice Department is opening a broad antitrust review of big tech firms.

Caterpillar (CAT): [EARNINGS] Earned $2.83 per share from the second quarter, compared to a consensus estimate of $3.12 a share. Revenue, however, was essentially in line with forecasts.

VF Corp. (VFC): [EARNINGS] Beat estimates by a penny a share, earnings an adjusted 30 cents per share for the quarter. Revenue also exceeded forecasts and the company raised its full-year outlook, on upbeat growth for its Vans sneakers and North Face clothing.

UPS (UPS): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.96 per share, four cents above estimates, with revenue above forecasts as well. Separately, UPS said it would offer 7-day delivery beginning in 2020. That follows a similar move by rival FedEx, which had announced a 2020 launch of 7-day service in May.

Anthem (ANTM): [EARNINGS] Came in 3 cents a share ahead of forecasts, with adjusted quarterly profit of $4.64 per share. Revenue also beat estimates and Anthem increased its full-year guidance as it raises the lower end of is projected membership growth.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG): [EARNINGS] Earned an adjusted $3.99 per share for its latest quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $3.76. The restaurant chain’s revenue was also above estimates, and investors are especially encouraged by a much-stronger-than-expected 12% jump in same-restaurant sales.

Starbucks (SBUX): [NEWS] Is expanding its partnership with Uber’s (UBER) Uber Eats service to deliver coffee and food throughout the US beginning in early 2020.

Boeing (BA): [EARNINGS] Lost an adjusted $5.82 per share for the second quarter, as it deals with issues related to the 737 Max grounding. The commercial aviation unit lost nearly $5 billion in the second quarter, but the defense and services units posted profits.

AT&T (T): [EARNINGS] Matched forecasts with adjusted quarterly profit of 89 cents per share, with revenue beating estimates. Growth in AT&T’s wireless and media businesses helped make up for a loss of nearly one million pay-TV customers.

Hilton Worldwide (HLT): [EARNINGS] Earned adjusted $1.06 per share for its latest quarter, 4 cents a share above estimates. Revenue also beat forecasts on steady travel demand in the U.S. Hilton raised its full-year earnings forecast, but also lowered the high end of its revenue per available room forecast range amid concerns about a slowing global economy.

General Electric (GE): [NEWS] Has hired advisers to explore a sale of its aircraft financing unit, according to Bloomberg, which also reports that Starwood and Apollo Management have put in bids. 

Visa (V): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.37 per share, 5 cents a share above estimates. Revenue also beat consensus, helped by an overall boost in spending using Visa cards and highlighted by a nearly 9% jump in U.S. payment volume.

T-Mobile (TMUS), Sprint (S): [NEWS] The proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint will be the subject of a leadership meeting today by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, which owns 63 percent of T-Mobile. 
Separately, Bloomberg reports that Dish Network has agreed to pay $5 billion for wireless assets that T-Mobile and Sprint will sell to gain approval for the deal.

Campbell Soup (CPB): [NEWS] Is selling its Australian snacks unit Arnott’s to private equity firm KKR (KKR) for a reported $2.2 billion.