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US futures higher as investors ponder Fed’s next move

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, following the best two-day market rally since March. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were coming off their highest closes in nearly a month, while Apple (AAPL) logged a four-session winning streak for the first time in over a month. (CNBC)

HP Incorporated (HPQ) beat estimates on earnings, but missed on revenue. The computer hardware maker also issued weaker than expected current quarter guidance and cut the high-end of its full-year outlook, as the personal computer market continued to struggle. (CNBC)

Brent oil futures broke above $50 per barrel this morning for the first time in nearly seven months, boosted by American government figures showing a sharper-than-expected drawdown in stockpiles last week. U.S. crude was right around the $50 level. (Reuters)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today warned his G7 counterparts of a crisis on the scale of Lehman Brothers, Nikkei reports, arguing a 55 percent drop in commodities prices since 2014 mirrors a similar move lower during the global financial crisis.


President Barack Obama said in Japan today world leaders are "rattled" by presumptive GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and have good reason to feel that way. Obama said Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are not that ideologically different. (AP)

Hillary Clinton violated federal records rules through her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, a State Department audit concluded. The review challenges some of Clinton's fundamental assertions about the practice. (NBC News)

Walt Disney (DIS) chief executive Bob Iger has shot back at Bernie Sanders after the Democratic presidential candidate attacked the theme park and movie giant over worker pay and conditions. In a private Facebook post seen by The Wrap, Iger slammed Sanders.

A top Apple executive raised the prospect of the iPhone maker buying Time Warner at a meeting with the owner of HBO, CNN and Warner Brothers, according to three people who were briefed on it. (FT)

"It's less about revenge and more about specific deterrence," said Peter Thiel, in the billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur's first interview since it was revealed he backed wrestler Hulk Hogan's suit against Gawker. A jury in Florida recently awarded Hogan $140 million. (NY Times)

A LendingClub (LC) fund that invests in the firm's online consumer loans suffered one of its worst monthly performances for April and disclosed it was buying riskier loans than originally intended, reports the Wall Street Journal. The CEO was forced to leave earlier this month.

Wells Fargo (WFC) is launching a 3 percent down payment mortgage to help out first-time buyers and low to moderate-income buyers who've largely been sidelined in the housing recovery. The minimum FICO score for these loans is 620. (CNBC)

Shares of Takata surged more than 20 percent, after U.S. private equity group KKR offered to support the turnround of the Japanese airbag maker embroiled in the largest automotive safety recall in history. KKR is among several candidates to express interest. (FT-subscription)

Beating out a European consortium, General Electric (GE) won a contract to supply engines for South Korea's KF-X fighter jet project, in a deal that could be worth an estimated $3.5 billion. The move advances Seoul's effort to reduce its reliance on the U.S. military for air defense. (Reuters)

Starbucks (SBUX) is planning to open its first high-end Starbucks Roastery and Reserve Tasting Room outside the U.S. The new facility opens in Shanghai next year. Starbucks chief Howard Schultz told CNBC the China market has the potential to grow past the U.S.

For the third year in a row, McDonald's (MCD) is temporarily shutting down its headquarters because of protesters ahead of today's annual shareholders meeting. Fast food workers are pushing for wages of $15 per hour and the right to form a union. (Reuters)

Messaging app Snapchat has raised $1.81 billion in an equity offering, indicating strong investor interest, despite concerns about struggles to attract advertisers. TechCrunch said the company could be valued at about $20 billion.

BY THE NUMBERS

Relatively tight U.S. labor markets may put upward pressure on inflation, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said today in Singapore. Earlier this week, he said a summer Fed interest rate hike was not set in stone. Meanwhile, Fed Gov. Jerome Powell speaks just after noon ET in Washington.

A trio of economic reports this morning could sharpen the case for, or against, a June rate increase by the Fed. The government issues April durable goods and weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, the National Association of Realtors releases April pending home sales at 10 a.m. ET.

This afternoon, GameStop (GME), Splunk (SPLK), Palo Alto Networks (PANW), and Ulta Salon (ULTA) are all out with earnings.

US Foods (USFD) priced its initial public offering at $23 per share, within the expected range. The food distributor's shares were set to begin trading today on the New York Stock Exchange.

New York REIT (NYRT) is merging with JBG Cos., forming a real estate investment trust worth $8.4 billion and focusing on commercial properties in the New York City and Washington, D.C. markets.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Sears (SHLD) reported a smaller-than-expected adjusted loss of $1.86 per share, while revenue was also better. Same-store sales drops matched estimates. Sears also said it's exploring options for its Kenmore, Craftsman, Diehard, and Home Services businesses.

Costco (COST) reported quarterly profit of $1.24 per share, 2 cents above estimates, but revenue fell shy of forecasts and the warehouse retailer's comparable store sales were flat for the first time in more than six years.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM) beat estimates by 3 cents with adjusted quarterly profit of 53 cents per share, while revenue was also above estimates. But the housewares retailer warned on current quarter outlook.

PVH (PVH) came in 7 cents above estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.50 per share, while revenue also topped forecasts. The apparel company also gave strong earnings guidance for the full year.

Lions Gate (LGF) earned a profit of 7 cents per share, surprising analysts who had expected a 2-cent loss. The studio's revenue was also above forecast, with the TV segment helping to offset movies.

WATERCOOLER

Billionaire Facebook (FB) chief Mark Zuckerberg has bought up four neighboring homes, at the cost of $30 million, just so that he can demolish them, in a move to prevent prying eyes from peeking into his $7 million Palo Alto residence. (NBC News)