U.S. stocks set to open slightly lower as new quarter dawns

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U.S. stocks

Futures edge lower

U.S. stocks were trading slightly lower on Wednesday morning, suggesting that Wall Street will kick off the new quarter on a negative note after capping its best three months since 1998.

As of 5:50 a.m. ET, futures for the Dow were down 96 points, or 0.37% to 12,443. S&P 500 futures dropped 9.37 points, or 0.3% to 3,080.88 while the Nasdaq 100 futures shed 25.63 points, or 0.25% to 1,794.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.85% to close at 25,812.88. The S&P 500 rose 1.5% to 3,100.29 while the Nasdaq composite climbed 1.87% to 10,058.77.

Meanwhile, traders are still keeping an eye on the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard, the number of confirmed cases globally stands at more than 10.4 million, and the death toll has surpassed 511,500.

The U.S. has more than 2.6 million cases and more than 127,400 deaths.

Macy’s, Constellation Brands, General Mills earnings in focus

On the earnings front, traders are awaiting a slew of quarterly earnings reports ahead of the opening bell.

Macy’s (NYSE: M) is expected to report adjusted loss of $2.53 per share on $3.69 billion in revenue. Shares of the Ohio-based retailer were little changed in premarket trade.

Beermaker Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ) is scheduled to post adjusted earnings of $2.03 per share on $1.97 billion in revenue. The stock rose 0.83% to 176.40 a share in premarket trade.

General Mills (NYSE: GIS) is seen reporting adjusted earnings of $1.06 per share on $4.89 billion in revenue. Shares of the company gained 1.98% to $62.87 apiece in premarket trade.

FCC designates Huawei and ZTE as national security risks

In other news, Chinese telecommunication companies, Huawei and ZTE, were on Tuesday designated as “national security risks” to America’s communications networks by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The move formally bans U.S. telecommunications providers from using federal funds to buy equipment from Huawei and ZTE for their networks. It is expected to put more pressure on both companies, which the U.S. accuses of being close to Chinese authorities and spying for them by sharing data of Americans.

“Both companies have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus, and both companies are broadly subject to Chinese law obligating them to cooperate with the country’s intelligence services,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said.

“We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure,” Pai added.

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