Stock market futures are climbing higher early on Friday morning. This comes after better-than-expected earnings and economic data eased concerns about the outlook of the economy. After a strong start for the earnings season on Thursday, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), J.B. Hunt (NASDAQ: JBHT) and PNC Financial (NYSE: PNC) are among the names that will report quarterly results before the opening bell.
“The banks painted a strong and healthy picture of the US consumer … Wall Street can’t turn negative on the economy after seeing reserve releases, moderating trading revenue, mixed loan growth, and a consumer willing to take on debt,”- Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda.
On the economic data front today, the retail sales numbers and consumer sentiment figures are due at 8.30 a.m. and 10 a.m. ET respectively. This will help provide insights on consumer spending as the economy recovers. As of 7:01 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are gaining by 0.41%, 0.33%, and 0.28% respectively. All three averages are on track to end the week in the green.Virgin Galactic (SPCE) Falls After Delaying First Commercial Flight
Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) announced it will delay its full commercial service until toward the end of next year as it works to improve its space vehicles. The space exploration company also mentioned that it will not conduct another planned test flight this year. Naturally, investors were disappointed and SPCE stocks are trading lower in pre-market trading today.
The rescheduling came after the company said testing results of new materials prompted it to make changes to its timeline. While the test results didn’t impact any of its vehicles, Virgin Galactic plans to undertake “further analysis”. This is to determine whether any additional work is needed to ensure the vehicles meet all the strength margin requirements. As a result, the company announced to begin its “enhancement program” that could take up to 10 months.
“The re-sequencing of our enhancement period and the Unity 23 flight underscores our safety-first procedures, provides the most efficient path to commercial service, and is the right approach for our business and our customers,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement.
Read MoreBig Tech To Face Another Bipartisan U.S. Antitrust Bill
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Senators Amy Klobuchar, plan to introduce a bill that would prohibit Big Tech from favoring their own products and services. This bill is aimed at tech titans such as Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). News of the bill comes just one day after an investigation revealed that Amazon allegedly used data on third-party sellers to come up with ideas for its own labels in India.
“As dominant digital platforms — some of the biggest companies our world has ever seen — increasingly give preference to their own products and services, we must put policies in place to ensure small businesses and entrepreneurs still have the opportunity to succeed in the digital marketplace,” Klobuchar said in a statement.
There have been several proposed avenues to regulate the tech industry. And lawmakers of both parties are vowing to use this momentum to act on them. Of course, for this bill to become law, it must pass both houses of Congress. All in all, as Big Tech continues to grow and evolve over the years, the laws need to keep up. After all, ensuring these companies are competing fairly is as crucial as ever. Whether this bill would eventually materialize remains yet to be seen. But should it move forward, expect short-term volatility in these major tech stocks.Bitcoin (BTC) Jumps As SEC Approves Bitcoin Futures ETFs
Today is certainly a watershed moment for the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin rallied to nearly $60,000 earlier today. That came after a report that a Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) will clear the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Citing “people familiar with the matter”, Bloomberg reported that the regulator isn’t likely to block the products from starting to trade next week.
Cryptocurrency investors have been longing for this news of approval for some time. And don’t be surprised if the recent rally has been in anticipation of this move. Certainly, many believe this could speed up mainstream adoption and trading. Several fund managers, including ProShares and Invesco, to name a few, have applied to launch Bitcoin ETFs in the United States. More importantly, it is these two proposals that may be allowed to launch under this law next week.
Admittedly, JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) Jamie Dimon said recently Bitcoin is worthless. That didn’t stop the crypto bulls from celebrating this piece of news. If anything, the introduction of the Bitcoin ETF would be a crucial step to legitimize the space. According to Jurien Timmer, Fidelity’s director of global macro, $100,000 prices could be in the cards by 2023. Considering all this, it may not be a bad idea to keep a closer eye on this space.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will shut down its local version of LinkedIn in China as the country continues to expand its censorship of the internet. To those unfamiliar, LinkedIn was the last major U.S. social network still operating in China, which has some of the strictest censorship rules. Microsoft’s withdrawal is the most high-profile departure since Google left the country in 2010.
Instead of trying to navigate around the censorship rules, Microsoft will launch a job search site in China that doesn’t have any social media elements. The new site, called InJobs, will not include a social feed or allow users to share posts or articles.
According to data from Statista, China is LinkedIn’s third-largest market with around 50 million users. Admittedly, that is a small proportion of internet users in the country. LinkedIn has faced strong competition in the job-seeking app market there. Regardless, the latest move by Microsoft will probably not have a major impact on its bottom line, judging by how investors are responding to the news.