U.S. stock futures were trading slightly higher on Thursday after posting modest gains yesterday as investors remain optimistic about sustained stimulus and a dovish monetary policy outlook.
Dow and S&P 500 futures were trading around 0.3% higher, with Nasdaq futures gaining 0.5% at the time of writing.
On the earnings calendar today, PEP, K and RCL will release their earnings before the market opens, while DIS, ILMN and KHC will report their results after the closing bell.
Sundial Growers (SNDL) was again the most actively traded before the bell, with almost 35 million shares having already changed hands at the time of writing. Shares of the cannabis producer looked set to open around 48% higher.
Top gainers in pre-market trading were RCM Technologies (+122%), Portman Ridge (+70%) and Applied Genetic (+48%), while the biggest losers before the bell were Anchiano Therapeutics (-35%), Cancer Genetics (-21%) and Fluidigm (-17%).
In corporate earnings news, Uber (UBER) fell 5% in pre-market trading on Thursday after reporting a better-than-feared quarterly loss for Q4. While Uber’s core ride-hailing business saw a 50% year-on-year drop in bookings amid the coronavirus pandemic, bookings for Uber’s delivery unit, Uber Eats, exploded 130% as people continue to remain at home. The company incurred a non-adjusted loss of $0.54 per share in Q4, compared to the $0.55 loss per share estimated by analysts. Total sales for the quarter amounted to $3.17 billion, falling short of analysts’ expectations of $3.58 billion.
Beauty and wellness solutions provider Nu Skin (NUS) posted a 94% jump in diluted EPS to $1.40, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.19. Q4 sales grew 28% year-on-year to $748.2 million, missing analysts’ expectations by $1.5 million. Revenues for the year increased to $2.58 billion from $2.42 billion, while earnings grew to $3.63 per share from $3.10 in 2019.
Shares of iRobot (IRBT) spiked 9% before the bell after it reported better-than-expected Q4 results. EPS of $0.84 topped analysts’ estimates of $0.31, while revenues grew 28% year-on-year to $544.8 million, ahead of consensus estimates of $494.1 million. Sales grew by more than 25% across every major geographic region and online retailing, which contributed 60% to total sales in Q4, grew 70% year-on-year. The company expects EPS for 2021 of between $3 and $3.25, with sales of $1.63 billion to $1.67 billion.
In M&A news, ARC Resources (AETUF) has agreed to buy a 49% stake in Seven Generations Energy Ltd. for C$8.1 billion, including debt, to create Canada’s largest condensate producer. “The transaction will create a combined company with material size and scale that enhances ARC’s and Seven Generations’ existing commodity and geographic diversification,” the two companies said in a joint statement. The company, which will operate as ARC Resources, is expected to be immediately accretive and additional synergies are estimated to create about C$110 million in annual cost savings by 2022.
Meanwhile, Baidu (BIDU) is raising funds to develop a stand-alone AI semiconductor company as it plans to diversify its operations beyond advertising. BIDU was up almost 3% in pre-market trading on Thursday after rising 3% yesterday. A stand-alone semiconductor company could help the company better commercialize its operations, as demand for semi-conductors to process data for AI applications across multiple industries continues to grow. Baidu would be the majority shareholder and venture capital firms, GGV and IDG Capital, are already involved in early discussions to invest.