Equity futures were unmoved by the economic data, holding just underwater in what has been a consolidative trade so far this morning. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all slightly lower at midday ahead of the impending release of the FOMC meeting minutes, which may have the market slightly on edge. So far, the Fed has been resolute that inflation can run hot for some time, with the focus on a full recovery in the labor market.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the trade deficit widened 4.8% to $71.1B in February, which was more than expected.
The FOMC minutes for the meeting of March 16-17 are set to be released at 2 pm ET. The minutes are unlikely to show any significant shift in thinking despite the increase in the number of participants penciling in a rate hike for next year amid stronger than expected economic growth.
TOP NEWS: Amazon (AMZN) shares are 2% higher near noon after CEO Jeff Bezos said yesterday that he supports a raise in the the U.S. corporate tax rate amid the country's infrastructure overhaul. "We support the Biden Administration's focus on making bold investments in American infrastructure," Bezos said. "Both Democrats and Republicans have supported infrastructure in the past, and it's the right time to work together to make this happen. We recognize this investment will require concessions from all sides-both on the specifics of what's included as well as how it gets paid for (we're supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate). We look forward to Congress and the Administration coming together to find the right, balanced solution that maintains or enhances U.S. competitiveness."
Shares of Carnival (CCL) rose are up about 2% after the company provided a corporate update, guiding for a first quarter U.S. adjusted net loss of $2B. CEO Arnold Donald said that the company is "focused on resuming operations as quickly as practical," noting that the cruiseliner is working with the CDC and the Biden administration to resume cruising.
In SPAC news, CA Healthcare Acquisition (CAHC) announced a definitive merger agreement with LumiraDx, a point of care diagnostics testing company. The combination reflects a value of $5B for Lumira's existing equity, before giving effect to the transaction. The announcement comes a little over two months after the special purpose acquisition company had its initial public offering.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Ouster (OUST), which rose 22% after Citi analyst Itay Michaeli initiated coverage of the stock with a Buy rating. Also higher was Biohaven (BHVN), which gained 9% after providing Q1 Nurtec ODT net product revenue guidance.
Among the notable losers was FibroGen (FGEN), which declined 39% after announcing that that the FDA has informed the company that it has tentatively scheduled a Cardiovascular and Renal Drug Advisory Committee on July 15 to review the new drug application for roxadustat for the treatment of anemia of chronic kidney disease in both dialysis-dependent and non-dialysis-dependent patients. Also lower was Geo Group (GEO), which fell 20% after the company suspended its quarterly dividend payments and said it is evaluating its corporate structure.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 59.72, or 0.18%, to 33,370.52, the Nasdaq was down 29.56, or 0.22%, to 13,668.82, and the S&P 500 was down 2.96, or 0.07%, to 4,070.98.