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Stock Futures Rise: Chip Stocks AMD, Micron Lead Techs, China IPO Nio Spikes

Techs led as stock futures edged higher Friday, while investors kept a close eye on the impact of Hurricane Florence as it plowed into the North Carolina coast.




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Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Micron Technology (MU) and Nvidia (NVDA) were early leaders as chip stocks set up for another rally. China IPO Nio (NIO) prepared to reap triple-digit gains from its offering price. Utility NiSource (NI) dived following Thursday gas explosions in Massachusetts.

Dow futures and S&P 500 futures added 0.1%. Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.3% above fair value.

Intel (INTC) led the Dow with a 0.4% gain. Drugmaker Shire (SHPG) topped the Nasdaq 100, with chip stocks Micron Technology and Nvidia close behind. Micron Technology and AMD led the S&P 500, while NiSource tumbled to that index’s deepest decline.

The Dow opens Friday toting a 0.9% gain for the week, while the S&P 500 is up 1.1%. Both vie for their ninth gain in the past 11 weeks. The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.4% through Thursday, as it continues to ride support at its 10-week moving average.

Hurricane Florence Update

In North Carolina, the threat of wind damage slipped down the list of concerns as Hurricane Florence weakened to a Category 1 storm before making landfall Friday. But the storm still packed 90 mph winds, reportedly knocking out power to more than 400,000 residents, and storm surge and rains remained critical threats. The huge storm was expected to dump up to 40 inches of rain on portions of North Carolina on Friday. More than one million residents evacuated while others sheltered in place to ride out the storm.

Among storm-affected stocks, Home Depot (HD) rose 0.1%, United Rentals (URI) jumped 0.9% and Allstate (ALL) slipped 1.2% in premarket trade.

August Import Prices Drop, Retail Sales Miss Estimates

Import prices posted their largest decline in 18 months in August, the Labor Department reported, as a strong dollar held back inflation pressures. Import prices fell 0.6% for the month, but climbed 3.7% year-over-year. Analyst forecasts called for a 0.1% monthly slip. Export prices were down 0.1%, below expectations for a 0.2% increase for the month, although still up 3.6% on the year.

Retail sales inched up 0.1% in August, according to the Commerce Department, below forecasts for a 0.4% gain. Minus auto and gasoline, sales were up 0.2%, below projections for a 0.4% gain.

Factory output and capacity estimates for August, and preliminary September consumer sentiment estimates are set for release later this morning.

Crude oil prices gained 0.4% as West Texas Intermediate continued to trade just below the $70 per barrel mark. That was almost precisely at the midway point between the highs set in 2013 and the price-crash low of February 2016. The weekly U.S. rig count is slated for release from Baker Hughes (BHGE) at 1 p.m. ET.

AMD Leads Chip Stocks, Nio Aims Higher: NiSource Dives

Advanced Micro Devices once again steered higher in premarket trade, up nearly 3% as the stock aims for its sixth straight weekly advance. AMD stock is up 94% after clearing a 15.75 buy point in mid-June.

Dave & Buster’s Entertainment (PLAY) jumped 3.6% as the sports bar-and-arcade chain topped second-quarter views. The stock ended Thursday 2% below a 58.96 buy point in a cup-with-handle base.

Adobe Systems (ADBE) sloughed off its early gain and slipped 0.2%, despite delivering positive fiscal third-quarter results late Thursday. Adobe shares ended Thursday in a buy range above a 263.93 flat base buy point.

China IPO Nio narrowed its early gain to 7%, suggesting the stock would open almost 100% above Wednesday’s IPO price. (Not all premarket moves carry over into regular trade.)  The maker of luxury electric vehicles, touted as China’s Tesla (TSLA), soared 72% on Thursday. The stock has not yet formed an IPO base or offered a valid buy point. Tesla shares rose 0.2% in premarket action.

Diversified utility NiSource skidded almost 8% lower following a series of reportedly gas-related explosions in dozens of homes in Merrimack Valley, Mass. Customers of the company’s Columbia Gas of Massachusetts were evacuated as crews worked to shut off individual gas valves for each of 8,600 customers in the area. NiSource shares had climbed 22% since June and were taking out new highs.

Trade War Hopes Boost Hong Kong, Tokyo, Europe

Stocks rallied in Hong Kong and Tokyo Friday, while China’s mainland markets slipped after a round of weak economic data for August. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 1% as casino and technology issues continued to rebound, hauling the index out of bear market terrain and to a 1.2% advance for the week. Mainland markets were less fortunate, with the Shanghai Composite slipping 0.2% Friday to chalk up a 0.7% loss in its third straight weekly decline. Shanghai has been in bear market territory since late June.

In Japan, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 popped 1.2% as stocks rallied for the fourth day this week. That left the benchmark up 3.5% for the week, its best week since mid-July, but still 4% below January’s high.

European markets were also tracking toward their best week since July as trade talk optimism again lifted automakers and mining stocks. Frankfurt’s DAX and the CAC-40 in Paris each gained 0.5%, London’s FTSE 100 was ahead 0.3% in afternoon trade.

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