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Futures rise after Trump speech; banks up on rate talk


U.S. stock index futures were higher on Wednesday as investors assessed President Donald Trump's speech, while bank stocks rose on increased possibility of an interest rate hike this month. In his first address to a joint session of Congress late Tuesday, Trump said he wanted to boost the U.S. economy with a "massive tax relief", overhaul the Affordable Care Act and make a $1 trillion effort on infrastructure. His comments, though lacking in detail, underscored his pro-growth stance that has helped Wall Street hit record highs in a post-election rally. However, the markets focused on comments from a handful of Federal Reserve officials, including the influential New York Fed President William Dudley, who said the case for tightening monetary policy had become "a lot more compelling". The probability of a March rate hike jumped to 67 percent from roughly 30 percent after the comments, according to Thomson Reuters data. The Fed's policy-setting body meets on March 14-15. The dollar jumped 0.58 percent to mark its biggest one-day gain since Jan. 18, while shares of Bank of America (BAC. N), Goldman Sachs (GS. N) and Citigroup (C. N) rose about 1.2 percent in premarket trading. Yellen, who has said a rate increase could happen in an upcoming meeting, is scheduled to speak on economic outlook on Friday. Meanwhile, investors will closely watch Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard comments on Wednesday for her take on rates.

A report on consumer spending and inflation numbers from the Commerce Department is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT) and could bolster the odds of a rate increase this month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average . DJI broke its 12-day record streak on Tuesday as retail stocks declined and investors remained cautious ahead of Trump's late evening speech. Among stocks, Lowe's (LOW. N) jumped 5.7 percent to $78.58 after the home improvement chain issued an upbeat sales forecast for the year.

Cybersecurity firm Palo Alto (PANW. N) tumbled 21 percent to $120 as its current-quarter revenue and profit forecast missed analysts' estimates. Futures snapshot at 6:57 a.m. ET:Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 82 points, or 0.39 percent, with 44,717 contracts changing hands.

Best Buy posts unexpected drop in same-store sales, shares slide Best Buy Co Inc , the No. 1 U.S. electronics retailer, reported an unexpected decline in holiday-quarter same-store sales on Wednesday, hurt by weak demand for tablets, gaming consoles, wearable devices and mobile phones.

Toshiba asks law firm to advise on potential Westinghouse bankruptcy cost: sources TOKYO Toshiba Corp has asked a Japanese law firm to help estimate the potential financial impact if it decides its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse should file for Chapter 11 protection from creditors, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Taiwan's Foxconn 'definitely bidding' for Toshiba chip business HONG KONG Taiwan's Foxconn , the world's largest contract electronics maker, is "definitely bidding" for the chip business of Japan's Toshiba Corp and is "very confident" it can buy into it, company founder Terry Gou said on Wednesday.

Snap slumps 12 percent, closes at lowest since IPO


Shares of Snap Inc (SNAP. N) slumped 12 percent on Monday and closed at their lowest level of the three sessions since the Snapchat owner's soaring market debut last week. The $3.4-billion listing last Thursday was the hottest technology offering in three years, but the loss-making company's lofty valuation and slowing user growth have raised eyebrows on Wall Street. In its market debut last Thursday, Snap surged 44 percent from its $17 IPO price to close at $24.48. After jumping another 11 percent on Friday, the stock on Monday reversed course and fell 12.25 percent to close at $23.77.

"It's not necessarily because there's something wrong with it. It's because it probably moved way too far, way too fast," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O’Neil Securities in New York. Snap is the parent of Snapchat, an app popular with young people for its disappearing messages. Needham analyst Laura Martin rated Snap "underperform" and compared its stock to buying a lottery ticket.

Of six analysts who have initiated coverage of Snap, four recommend selling, while none have "buy" ratings and two have neutral ratings, according to Thomson Reuters data. Meanwhile, a group representing large institutional investors has approached stock index providers S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI Inc, looking to bar Snap and any other companies that sell non-voting shares from being included in stock benchmarks.

History suggests investors shut out of IPOs are better off waiting instead of rushing to buy them immediately after their debuts. Globally, shares of most of the 25 largest technology IPOs have languished in their first 12 months on the public market, with 16 of them notching a hefty decline from their debut day closing price, according to a Reuters analysis of market performance.