Stock futures tick higher in quiet trade

U.S. stock futures pointed to modest gains Wednesday morning as the major averages remained in striking distance of their all-time highs. 

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were higher by 64 points, or 0.19%, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.27% and 0.41%, respectively. 

Both the Dow and the S&P held within 1.4% of their respective record peaks. The Dow was 3.5% below its all-time high. 

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In stocks, ExxonMobil Corp. faces a fight with an activist investor over its board of directors with climate change being the key issue. Preliminary vote tallies are due around midday. 

Elsewhere, cryptocurrency-linked names were higher as bitcoin flirted with the $40,000 level after trading below $32,000 earlier in the week.

In dealmaking, Amazon announced on Wednesday it will buy Hollywood studio MGM for $8.45 billion. 

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. was cleared to conduct test cruises with volunteer passengers beginning in June. The cruise said all passengers must be fully vaccinated 14 days before setting sail. 

In earnings, department store Nordstrom Inc. reported a wider than expected quarterly loss and reaffirmed its full-year outlook, disappointing analysts who had seen other companies in the retail space hike their forecasts in recent days.  

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. reported same-store sales soared 115% year over year, facing easy comparisons as the retailer closed its locations in mid-March due to COVID-19. The sporting goods retailer hiked its full-year guidance. 

Capri Holdings Ltd., parent company of Michael Kors, reported strong quarterly results and guided above Wall Street estimates on hopes demand pickups up as the reopening of the economy gathers momentum.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil lost 26 cents to $65.81 per barrel and gold jumped $10.40 to $1,908.60 per ounce. 

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Overseas markets were choppy. 

In Europe, France’s CAC 40 ticked up 0.07% while Germany’s DAX 30 and Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.13% and 0.22%, respectively. 

Asian bourses rallied across the board with Japan’s Nikkei 225 advancing 0.31%, China’s Shanghai Composite climbing 0.34% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rising 0.88%.  

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