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Pre-Market: Amazon and HBO Take On Netflix; Bank of Japan Leaves Key Interest Rate at 0.1%


Russia's Gazprom and China's CNPC sign a $400 billion deal.

Stock futures pointed toward a higher open on Wednesday. Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose 0.26% to 16,380. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were up 0.26% to 1,872.50. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved higher, rising 0.27% to 3,606.75.


Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) subsidiary HBO have struck a deal to feature some of HBO's shows on Amazon's premium Amazon Prime subscription service. The deal, which does not include shows newer than three years old like Game of Thrones and True Detective, marks the first time that HBO has offered its shows through another service. Amazon and HBO are likely looking to lure subscribers away from competitor Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). Meanwhile, Netflix revealed plans to launch its subscription service in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg later this year. Shares of  Amazon were up 0.23% in pre-market trading. Netflix was up 1.03%.

Russia's Gazprom (OTCMKTS:OGZPY) and the China National Petroleum Company have inked a $400 billion deal that's been 10 years in the making. The agreement, finalized on the second day of Russian President Vladimir Putin's trip to China, will see Russia providing 38 billion cubic meters of gas per year and investing $55 billion in the venture. The price of gas remains a commercial secret.

In a letter to regulators, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has disclosed the reason it keeps a large portion of its cash outside of the US. The Mountain View, California-based Web giant explained it needs the cash to be available to expand its global business amid increase global competition. At the end of March, Google had $35 billion deposited abroad. Shares of Google were up 0.25% ahead of the opening bell.

Lenovo (OTCMKTS:LNVGY) posted impressive fiscal year earnings overnight, with a 29% increase in net profits to $817 million and 14% increase in revenue to $38.71 billion. Smartphone shipments grew by a whopping 72%, with strong demand in China and emerging markets. Laptop sales grew as well, by 5%, despite a shrinking broader market. Fourth-quarter profits grew by 25%, but missed estimates.


Aside from a mortgage purchase index update -- the index fell 3% last week with a year-over-year average of -12% -- today's economic calendar is focused on the Federal Reserve. The Federal Open Markets Committee will release the minutes from its meeting held three weeks ago at 2:00 p.m. Before that, New York Fed President William Dudley will speak at 10:00 a.m. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen will deliver the commencement address to NYU at Yankee Stadium at 12:00 p.m. At 12:50 p.m., Kansas City Fed President Esther George will deliver a speech in Washington, DC. Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota will give a speech in Minneapolis at 1:30 p.m.

Global Markets

The sell-off in Asian stocks continued for a fourth day. The Bank of Japan left its key interest rate at 0.1%, and the yen rose to a 14-week high. There was no indication from Bank of Japan Chief Haruhiko Kuroda that there would be further monetary easing. Meanwhile, the country's trade deficit narrowed, with exports rising 5.1% in April -- however, on a seasonally adjusted basis, they rose only by 0.6%. In Europe, stocks saw few changes ahead of data on consumer confidence in the euro area. In England, retail sales grew at their fastest rate since May 2004, marking a third month of gains.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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