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US futures caught up in Fed-driven decline

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures pared losses this morning, after Dow stocks Wal-Mart (WMT) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) reported better-than-expected quarterly results. But adding pressure was the latest Fed minutes suggesting a June interest rate hike was possible. The Dow, up over 100 points ahead of the minutes, swung more than 100 points into the red, before closing Wednesday little changed. (CNBC)

Oil prices were sharply lower this morning, pulled down by rising U.S. inventories, a stronger dollar, and surging output from Iran to Europe and Asia. West Texas Intermediate crude settled slightly lower Wednesday, after a volatile session. (Reuters)

Authorities were searching near a Greek island for EgyptAir flight MS804, which is believed to have crashed en route from Paris to Cairo early this morning. There were 56 passengers on board, including one child and two infants, along with seven crew and three airline security officers. (CNBC)

Bucking the trend of dismal retail earnings, Wal-Mart this morning reported earnings, revenue, and same-store sales that beat estimates. Wal-Mart also issued a rosier outlook. Gap (GPS) leads this afternoon's earnings list.

Cisco Systems reported late Wednesday earnings and revenue that beat expectations on particularly strong demand for its internet security products. The network equipment maker also issued upbeat guidance. (CNBC)

Monsanto (MON) received an unsolicited takeover bid from German drug and chemical company Bayer, though neither company released any proposed terms of the deal. Monsanto currently has a market value of about $42 billion. (Reuters)

Tesla (TSLA) plans to issue $2 billion in new stock to fund the accelerated production of the electric automaker's upcoming Model 3, which has seen overwhelming demand. As of April 21, Tesla said it had received about 400,000 preorders. (CNBC)

Tesla chief Elon Musk pushed back against claims the company used cheap foreign labor to build one of its facilities. In a tweet, Musk wrote workers got $55 per hour, not the $5 per hour initially reported by The Mercury News. (CNBC)

General Motors (GM) is expected to announce plans to compensate owners of SUVs over inflated fuel economy claims. GM temporarily halted sales of about 60,000 new 2016 SUVs because labels overstated their fuel efficiency. (Reuters)

Viacom's (VIAB) board of directors has voted to stop paying controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone. The move comes amid the ongoing legal fight over the mental capacity of the 92-year-old Redstone, who already had his pay reduced substantially for 2015. (Variety)

Theranos has reportedly withdrawn the results of all blood tests run on its Edison device in 2014 and 2015. The diagnostic startup, valued at more than $9 billion, has come under scrutiny after media reports questioned the accuracy of its proprietary test methods. (WSJ)

The marriage of convenience between Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Party is on the rocks, with the Vermont independent senator threatening to take his millions of supporters of his presidential bid with him in the separation. (NBC News)

Facebook (FB) chief Mark Zuckerberg met with conservatives leaders to try and quell concerns of political bias at the social network. A senior Donald Trump campaign aide who attended tweeted praise for a "great meeting" but said more work needed to be done. (CNBC)

Amazon (AMZN) chief Jeff Bezos defended his company against repeated jabs from presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who accused Bezos of using his ownership of The Washington Post to influence politicians. (CNBC)

Video streaming services from Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN) could be forced to devote at least 20 percent of their catalogues to European films and TV shows as part of an overhaul of the EU's broadcasting rules. (FT)

BY THE NUMBERS

With the Fed putting June in play, investors get more economic clues this morning, including weekly jobless claims and the May Philly Fed index at 8:30 a.m. ET, and the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators at 10 a.m. ET.

Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer speaks at 9:15 a.m. ET and New York Fed President William Dudley speaks at 10:30 a.m. ET, events that should also get extra attention thanks to the minutes from the central bank's April meeting.



STOCKS TO WATCH

Salesforce.com (CRM) earned an adjusted 24 cents per share, a penny above estimates. Revenue also beat forecasts. The business software company raised its full-year forecast as demand for its cloud-based sales and marketing software increases.

Urban Outfitters (URBN) matched forecasts by earning 25 cents per share, while revenue above estimates. Quarterly same-store sales rose 1 percent, compared to expectations of a decline. But the apparel retailer warned that May sales have gotten out to a slow start.

L Brands (LB) came in 4 cents ahead of estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of 59 cents per share. But revenue missed. The parent of Victoria's Secret also lowered its full-year earnings guidance.

American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) reported quarterly profit of 22 cents per share, 4 cents above estimates, with revenue also above forecasts. Sales and profit margins for the apparel retailer have been improving following a restructuring.


WATERCOOLER

A rare 14.6-carat blue diamond auctioned at Christie's in Geneva for $57.5 million, including fees, becoming the most expensive diamond ever auctioned. The stone, called the "Oppenheimer Blue," followed a record-high $175 million jewelry sale by Sotheby's. (CNBC)