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Pre-Market: Google Reveals Self-Driving Car; Yahoo Attempts to Lure Content Creators Away From YouTube


China Vanke Co. president says the "golden age" of China's property market has come and gone.

Stock futures pointed toward a higher open on Wednesday. Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose 0.14% to 16,678. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were up 0.18% to 1,912.60. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved higher, rising 0.09% to 3,724.75.


The first day of Re/Code's three-day Code Conference has passed, and we have prototypes for a consumer-ready driverless car that's being built by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and a real-time language translation for Skype that's being released by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Google's self-driving cars will be fully electric, two-seater vehicles, sans steering wheel, accelerator, and brake pedals -- it's unclear if Google will partner with an existing car maker or produce the vehicles itself. Microsoft will launch a test version of its Skype Translator later this year, but it remains to be seen if the service will come with a fee. Shares of Google were up 0.19% ahead of the opening bell while Microsoft was flat.

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is trying to lure content creators away from Google's YouTube, as it prepares for the summer launch of a new video service. While the features of Yahoo's video service are more or less analogous to YouTube's, Yahoo is flaunting a more favorable share of ad revenue as well as steering clear of exclusivity contracts. But Yahoo has run into snags with would-be content providers during contract negotiations, as content providers have taken issue with conditions that would effectively transfer video ownership to Yahoo. Shares of Yahoo were up 0.31% in re-market trading.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has taken a 10.4% stake in the postal and logistics company Singapore Post Limited (OTCMKTS:SPSTY) for the cost of $249 million. The acquisition will help Alibaba coordinate international logistics, as the company is ramping up its international sales efforts. Alibaba's upcoming initial public offering in New York has garnered series attention over the past month.

GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) is under criminal investigation by England's fraud authority, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). What exactly GlaxoSmithKline is under investigation for hasn't been specified by the SFO, but the fact that GSK is currently facing bribery claims in China and four other countries could be good hint. Shares of GSK fell 1.46% in pre-market trading.


Mortgage purchase applications fell 1% over the past week, signaling slightly weaker home sales. Refinancing applications were dragged down by mortgages as well. Mortgage rates are at their lowest average since last June. The ICSC-Goldman Store Sales were weaker than expected over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, although ICSC-Goldman's sales data is trending higher over the course of this year. Redbook chain store sales will be released at 8:55 a.m. At 11:30 p.m., the 52-week Treasury bill auction will be held. At 1:00 p.m. the 2-year floating rate note auction and the 5-year note auction will be held.

Global Markets

Asian stocks hit one-year highs overnight following strong durable goods orders and a rise in home prices in the US. The president of China's largest property developer, China Vanke Co. (OTCMKTS:CVKEF), has said that the "golden age" of China's property market has come and gone. His comments come as a slowdown in the housing market poses a serious threat to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's efforts to accelerate Chinese growth. Meanwhile, China announced that it will relax its rules against foreign investment in hospitals. In Europe, stocks continued to trade near their highest level since January 2008, but saw little change in either direction today.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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