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CI

Futures Buoyed By Dialed-Back Trade Rhetoric

Buoyed by receding trade war jitters, stock futures were trading higher but off their best levels after Wall Street reacted to the decision by the European Central Bank to leave interest rates unchanged but omit language from its policy statement favorable to increasing quantitative easing.

Ahead of the ECB announcement, futures were gaining altitude as concerns of a full-blown trade war were mitigated late Wednesday by suggestions that Canada and Mexico would be excluded from trade restrictions.

Overseas markets were underpinned overnight by bullish Chinese trade and Japanese GDP data, both of which easily beat expectations. The buoyant mood spilled into Europe with most bourses in the green with the exception of Germany's DAX, which fell on the heels of soft German factory orders data.

Eurozone bourses are also feeling the weight from the ECB's decision to drop its pledge to increase QE should economic conditions deteriorate.

Early economic data was supportive of stock futures as initial jobless claims increased by a greater-than-expected 21,000 for the week ended March 3 to 231,000, coming off a 49-year low last week.

In corporate news, further consolidation in the health care industry occurred this morning when Cigna ( CI ) made a stock and cash offer worth $67 billion for Express Scripts ( ESRX ), driving up ESRX shares by 16% in premarket.

-Dow Jones Industrial up 0.13%

-S&P 500 futures up 0.25%

-Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.48%

SENTIMENT

Nikkei up 0.54%

Hang Seng up 1.52%

Shanghai Composite up 0.54%

FTSE-100 up 0.05%

DAX-30 down 0.49%

PRE-MARKET SECTOR WATCH

(+) Large cap tech: Higher

(+) Chip stocks: Higher

(+) Software stocks: Higher

(+) Hardware stocks: Higher

(+/-) Internet stocks: Mixed

(+) Oil stocks: Higher

(+) Biotech stocks: Higher

(+/-) Drug stocks: Mixed

(+) Financial stocks: Higher

(+) Retail stocks: Higher

(+) Industrial stocks: Higher

(+/-) Airlines: Flat

(-) Autos: Lower

UPSIDE MOVERS:

(+) IMRN (+88.76%) Reported positive results in NASH clinical trial

(+) PCMI (+24.69%) Reported positive Q4 reults

(+) ESRX (+15.88%) To be acquired by Cigna ( CI ) in deal worth $67 billion

DOWNSIDE MOVERS:

(-) VBLT (-63.97%) Phase 3 GLOBE trial did not meet primary endpoint

(-) ZAGG (-14.19%) Beat Q4 revenue expectations but issued in-line FY18 sales guidance

(-) CRVS (-7.56%) Announced $50 million share offering

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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