Stock futures point to losses ahead of retail sales data

Wall Street

July retail sales report on tap

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a lower open on Friday as market participants awaited the release of July’s retail sales data.

By 5:30 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures indicated a loss of 150 points, or 0.54% to 27,673. The S&P 500 futures were down 11.87 points, or 0.35% to 3,355.88 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures shed 12.13 points, or 0.11% to 11,163.12.

Today’s main focus will be the Census Bureau’s monthly retail sales figures at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect July retail sales to have risen 1.9% last month, down from June’s jump of 7.5%.

iQiyi discloses SEC probe, shares tank

Meanwhile, iQiyi (NASDAQ: IQ) shares plunged in pre-market trading Friday after the Chinese video-streaming service disclosed a regulatory investigation of its accounting practices.

The company said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has asked for financial and operating records dating from Jan. 1, 2018.

According iQiyi, the SEC is also seeking information related to acquisitions and investments identified by short seller firm Wolfpack Research in April 2020. Wolfpack Research accused iQiyi of inflating its 2019 revenue by roughly $1.13 billion to $1.98 billion.

iQiyi was spun off from Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) in an initial public offering, raising $2.2 billion.

As of this writing, shares of iQiyi were down 10.93% to $19.31 each in pre-market.

Fortnite creator Epic Games takes Apple, Google to court

Epic Games, maker of popular video game ‘Fortnite,’ has filed federal antitrust lawsuits against Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) subsidiary Google claiming that the two tech titans illegally exploit a monopoly on app and in-app purchases.

The move came after Apple and Google removed the game from their app stores for breaching the companies’ in-app payment rules, citing a direct payment feature that Epic rolled out on the Fortnite app on Thursday.

“Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation. Apple is bigger, more powerful, more entrenched, and more pernicious than the monopolists of yesteryear,” Epic said in its lawsuit filed in California.