Futures marginally higher, Coronavirus, Tesla, Huawei, and more

stock futures

Stock futures bump higher despite coronavirus concerns

U.S. stock futures came out marginally higher on Friday as market participants continued to watch the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak.

By 4:30 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were up 8.5 points, or about 0.03% to 29,440.5 while the S&P 500 futures rose 3.12 points, or around 0.09%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 17.50 points, or roughly 0.18% to 9,630.50.

Chinese health officials reported another sharp increase in the number of people infected with the deadly coronavirus, with the death toll now nearing 1,400. There were 5,090 new confirmed cases and 121 deaths yesterday, according to the country’s National Health Commission.

The virus has now infected a total of 63,851 people and killed at least 1,380 others.

Tesla to offer $2 billion of common stock

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) revealed in a filing early Thursday that it plans to sell up to $2.3 billion worth of new equity. CEO Elon Musk indicated his “preliminary interest” in buying $10 million of stock, according to the filing. Larry Ellison, a member of the company’s board of directors, agreed to buy up to $1 million of stock.

The electric-vehicle maker said it has granted underwriters an option to buy up to about $300 million of additional stock. Tesla said it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to “further strengthen its balance sheet, as well as for general corporate purposes.”

Shares of initially slumped after the announcement, but later bounced back to register notable gains. The stock was up $4.87, or 0.61% to $808.87 a share in premarket hours Friday.

U.S. charges Huawei with conspiracy to racketeer and steal state secrets

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged Chinese tech giant Huawei with conspiracy to racketeer and steal trade secrets from American companies.

In a press released on Thursday, the DOJ claims it uncovered “decades-long efforts by Huawei, and several of its subsidiaries, both in the US and in the People’s Republic of China, to misappropriate intellectual property, including from six US technology companies, in an effort to grow and operate Huawei’s business.”

Huawei denied the allegations in a statement early Friday, stating that they are aimed at killing competition to U.S. firms.

“This new indictment is part of the Justice Department’s attempt to irrevocably damage Huawei’s reputation and its business for reasons related to competition rather than law enforcement,” the company said. “The US government will not prevail with its charges, which we will prove to be both unfounded and unfair.”