U.S. stock futures were losing ground Wednesday, pointing to a lower open on Wall Street. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average failed to extend a three-day winning streak, while the S&P 500 broke a five-day winning streak. As the U.S. and China try to cement a "phase one" trade deal, Beijing is accusing the U.S. of interference after the Senate passed a bill supporting Hong Kong protesters. President Donald Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook are set tour a Mac Pro plant in Austin, Texas, at a time when the future of China tariffs are key to the U.S. tech giant. Investors will also be studying the minutes from the latest Fed meeting at 2 p.m. ET, while looking to retail earnings for a read on the American consumer.
Shares of Target were surging in the premarket Wednesday, indicating an all-time high at the open, after the big-box retailer reported third-quarter earnings and sales that trounced analyst estimates. Target also raised its profit outlook for the full year, ahead of the holiday shopping season. Target CEO Brian Cornell told CNBC moments after earnings were out that when customers order online and pick up at a store, use curbside pickup or select shipping via Shipt, "about 90% of the cost goes away" on fulfillment.
Lowe's shares were also jumping in premarket trading after the home improvement retailer announced before-the-bell Wednesday a profit that beat expectations in the third quarter despite a revenue shortfall. Lowe's also raised its fiscal 2019 earnings forecast. Since Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison arrived from J.C. Penney in July 2018, he has focused on sales to professional contractors. On Tuesday, larger rival Home Depot reported weaker-than-expected quarterly sales and warned on full-year sales. Home Depot shares were under pressure again in the premarket.
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is placing a $400 million bet against struggling malls, taking on two of the largest investment firms, according to The Wall Street Journal. Icahn has placed his bet in recent months and suffered early losses, sources told the publication. Traders in market told the Journal that Icahn "likely is the largest short seller of mall debt." Icahn's trades pit him against Putnam Investments and AllianceBernstein, two of the largest money managers bullish on malls, according to the report.
U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland is set to appear for a public hearing Wednesday at 9 a.m. ET before the House Intelligence Committee conducting the Trump impeachment inquiry. House Democrats are looking into the president's intention on a July phone call when he pressed Ukraine's leader to investigate Joe Biden. Wednesday evening, the former vice president and nine other candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination will take the stage in Atlanta for the latest primary debate, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg rising in polls in early nominating contests.