Stock Futures Hold, Microsoft Loses 2.6% After Announcing Profits

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Futures related to major US stock indexes held steady during Wednesday night’s overnight session as investors analyzed a slew of corporate earnings in an otherwise positive week.Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 18 points, implying a slight opening loss when regular trading resumes on Thursday. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 were little changed and rose by a hair, respectively.

Wall Street’s attention in Wednesday night’s after-hours trading focused on earnings announcements from several US companies, but in particular Microsoft and automaker Tesla.

Despite better-than-expected numbers, shares of software giant Microsoft fell 3% after office hours. Although the company’s results were largely positive, Microsoft said its transactional license purchases continue to slow and the LinkedIn subsidiary has been affected by the weak labor market.

Tesla, meanwhile, beat analysts’ expectations and posted its fourth straight quarter of profit, opening the door for the company to be included in the S&P 500. Excluding one-time charges, Tesla’s second-largest earnings per share quarter of $ 2.18 was well above the 3 cents. per share expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv.

Car maker Elon Musk also said it was “on track for a successful second half” and reiterated its goal of delivering 500,000 vehicles this year.

The after-hours moves followed a steady positive session on Wednesday, with the major indexes all posting modest gains on vaccine and federal stimulus announcements.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up 165.44 points, or 0.6%, with McDonald’s and Microsoft contributing the most to the index. The S&P 500 also rose about 0.6% as utilities and real estate investment trusts led the broader market higher. The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, rose 0.2%.

All three indices are up 1.25%, 1.59% and 1.9%, respectively, for the week.

Shares caught a morning offer after the United States agreed to pay drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech nearly $ 2 billion for 100 million coronavirus vaccines if their candidate turns out to be both safe and effective.

U.S. stocks also rallied towards the end of the regular session on Wednesday after sources told CNBC that Republicans in Congress were weighing an extension of watered down federal unemployment benefits through the end of the year.

On Thursday, the Labor Department will release its latest report on weekly jobless claims. The weekly figures provide Wall Street with a critical snapshot of the number of Americans who continue to collect unemployment benefits, known as continuing claims.

An additional 1.3 million workers are expected to make their first claims for unemployment benefits during the week ended July 18.

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