U.S. Stocks Set Open Higher As China GDP Tops Estimates


China economy rebounds

Chinese gross domestic product (GDP) rebounded in the first quarter of the year, as the authorities took steps to stabilize businesses in the country. The world’s second-largest economy grew an annualized 6.4% during the first three months of 2019, according to official data released Wednesday. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected the economy to rise 6.3%.

Beijing stepped up spending in 2018 and asked banks to flood the financial system with money after economic activity weakened due its tariff fight with Washington. Still, China is expecting slower growth of 6% to 6.5% in 2019, compared with a guidance of 6.5% last year.

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday following the better-than-expected China data. At 6:16 a.m. ET, futures on the blue-chip Dow advanced 27 points, or 0.1% to 26,474. Futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq traded up 21.38 points, or 0.28% to 7,700.88 while those on the S&P 500 rose 5.38 points, or 0.18% to 2,916.88.

Qualcomm rallies on settlement

Shares of Qualcomm Inc (NASDAQ: QCOM) recorded their biggest jump in more than 19 years on Tuesday after the company agreed to settle its wide-ranging legal dispute with Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL). In an unexpected move, Qualcomm and Apple issued a statement saying all litigation between the two companies worldwide has been dropped.

Apple had accused the Qualcomm of overcharging its chips, a claim the latter has denied. Under the terms of the settlement, the iPhone-maker is expected to make a payment to Qualcomm for an undisclosed amount. Qualcomm will also supply parts to Apple for multiple years, the two tech giants said.

Qualcomm stock jumped 23.21% to $70.45 in regular trading Tuesday, while Apple stock closed at $199.25. Shares of California-based Qualcomm were up $3.74, or 5.31% to $74.19 in premarket trading Wednesday.

Pinterest, Zoom to price after the closing bell

Wall Street is eagerly waiting for Pinterest Inc and Zoom Video Communications Inc to price their initial public offerings after markets close today. Online imaging site Pinterest is likely to price above its proposed range, according to a WSJ report.

Shares of Pinterest will begin trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “PINS.” Zoom shares will also start trading on Thursday under “ZM” ticker symbol on the Nasdaq.

Earnings alert

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) reported first-quarter earnings of $0.76 per share on revenue of $4.52 billion. The streaming giant also added 9.6 million paid subscribers, well ahead of estimates. However, executives of the California-based company provided a light second-quarter guidance, sending its shares down in after-hours trading on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, IBM (NYSE: IBM) posted wider-than-anticipated drop in Q1 2019 revenue. The company reported revenue of $18.18 billion, compared with $19.07 billion in the same period last year. Shares of the tech giant shares were down 2.53% to $141.50 in premarket trading on Wednesday

Elsewhere, shares of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP) jumped before the opening bell after the companies announced solid earnings. Morgan Stanley posted a profit of $2.4 billion, or $1.39 per share, smashing Refinitiv consensus estimate of $1.17 per share.

PepsiCo reported net income of $1.41 billion, or $1 per share, compared with $1.34 billion, or $0.94 per share, in the prior-year period.