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Pre-Market: Amazon Faces Potential FTC Lawsuit; US Adds 288,000 Jobs in June


ECB leaves rates unchanged.

Stock futures pointed toward a higher open for Thursday's shortened holiday session. Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose 0.09% to 16,915. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved lower, rising 0.10% to 3,895.75.  Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were up 0.13% to 1,969.60.


Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is facing a potential lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission over its in-app purchases policies. The FTC wants Amazon to pursue a settlement similar to the one reached by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in January, when Apple agreed to refund $32.5 million and revise its billing practices. In-app purchases, where apps are downloaded for free but then charge users through credit cards registered with the app store proprietor (i.e. Apple and Amazon) have lead to thousands of complaints and millions of dollars of unauthorized purchases, the FTC says. Amazon is fighting the penalty, arguing that it has refunded customers who have complained that their children -- particularly susceptible to making in-app purchases -- have been unknowingly driving up credit card bills. Amazon rose 0.20% in pre-market trading.  

Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VLKAY) has called rumors that it is planning to bid for US truck maker PACCAR Inc. (NASDAQ:PCAR) "complete rubbish." Word of Volkswagen's intentions emerged in a research note published by analysts at Bernstein Research. The note cited a senior executive at rival automaker Daimler (OTCMKTS:DDAIF), who told Bernstein Research that he heard from multiple sources that Volkswagen planned to bid for PACCAR in 2015. Volkswagen has denied the claims, but it didn't stop shares of the Wolfsburg, Germany, automaker from falling as much as 1.4%.

Privately held US real estate giant Paramount Group has retained Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and is potentially pursuing an initial public offering that could value the company at over $15 billion. The IPO could bring in over $2 billion in proceeds, making it the second largest US real estate public offering after Hilton Worldwide Holdings (NYSE:HLT) raised $2.7 billion in 2013. Boston Properties Inc, Paramount's most comparable peer, has seen shares rise 18% since its went public at the beginning of the year.

After Irish drugmaker Shire PLC (NASDAQ:SHPG) rejected AbbVie's (NYSE:ABBV) latest takeover offer -- which values Shire at $46 billion -- AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez met with Shire shareholders to make his case for the deal. After three rejected bids, AbbVie still hasn't revised its offer price. Sources told Reuters that Gonzalez is prepared to raise his bid, but wanted to first address major shareholders. Shares of Shire fell 0.74% ahead of the opening bell. AbbVie remained flat.


Topping off yesterday's jobs data, initial US jobless claims increased by 2,000 to 315,000 in the week ending June 28. Non-farm payroll employment increased by 288,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate declined to 6.1%. The Challenger Job-Cut report was at its lowest level of the year at 31,434 job cuts in June compared to 52,961 in May. US trade data showed that May exports were valued at $195 billion, while May exports were $239.8 billion. At 9:00 a.m., Markit will publish its US Services Purchasing Manufacturing Index (PMI). An hour later, the Institute for Supply Management will release its non-manufacturing index. Both global composite PMI and global services PMI numbers will be released at 11:00 a.m. At 4:30 p.m., the Federal Reserve will release its balance sheet and the money supply.

Global Markets

Brent futures fell to $111, with eased tensions in Libya muting supply fears. Asia stocks rose for a fourth day, following positive US jobs data. Japanese stocks bucked the regional trend, falling off yesterday's five-month high ahead of today's US jobs data. Meanwhile, Japan has removed some sanctions against North Korea in an attempt to begin improving relations with the hermit kingdom. In Australia, retail sales dropped further in May, faster than the decline in April, signaling worsening economic conditions on the South Pacific continent. European stocks moved higher a day after US Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said US monetary policy would remain unchanged. The European Central Bank has left its rates unchanged. Investors await Draghi's speech to see if the ECB is launching an asset purchase program similar to the Federal Reserve's. Sweden's central bank has lowered its main interest rate in a move to stave off deflation, bringing its deposit rate down by half a percentage point to negative 0.5%.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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