Stock futures muted ahead of retail sales data and earnings

stock futures

October retail sales data on tap

U.S. stock futures were muted on Tuesday ahead of a Commerce Department report, which could influence the Federal Reserve’s interest rate outlook.

The report, due at 08:30 a.m. ET, is likely to show retail sales rose by 1.5% in October, according to a Bloomberg poll. That would be more than September’s reading of 0.7%.

Traders are also awaiting earnings results from retail Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Home Depot (NYSE: HD), and Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP).

As of 5:30 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow Jones were down 40 points, or 0.11% to 35,969.

S&P 500 futures dropped 7 points, or 0.15% to 4,672 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures gave away 29.25 points, or 0.18% to 16,158.5.

Biden and Xi Jinping hold talks

Meanwhile, President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a virtual summit on Monday night where they emphasized their personal relationship.

Biden expressed the need to protect U.S. workers and industries from China’s “unfair trade and economic practices.”

On human rights, Biden raised U.S. concerns about abuses against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang.

Xi, on the other hand, told Biden that America needs to stop abusing the concept of national security to oppress Chinese companies, according to Reuters.

The two presidents had spoken twice by phone after Biden assumed power in January, but Monday’s summit resembled a formal bilateral meeting, with each leader surrounded by top aides.

Elon Musk sells more stock

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) Chief Executive Elon Musk has sold $946.6 million worth of the company’s stock, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

The filings indicate that Musk sold 934,091 shares and exercised options to buy 2.1 million stock options at $6.24 each.

As per the filing, “the shares of common stock were sold solely to satisfy the reporting person’s tax withholding obligations.”

Musk has been offloading some of his Tesla shares since he ran a Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) poll, asking his follower whether he should sell 10% of his stock.

Tesla shares ended at $1,013.39 on Monday, but were down 1.59% to $997.24 apiece in Tuesday’s premarket session.