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Wednesday’s Pre-Market: Here’s What You Need to Know Before the Market Opens

U.S. stock futures were trending higher on Wednesday ahead of the release of the much-awaited Federal Reserve meeting minutes for June. Equities are moving higher despite investors remaining cautious about the economic recovery as the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant continues.

Dow futures were up 0.08%, NASDAQ futures rose 0.48%, and S&P 500 futures had climbed 0.16% at the time of writing. The rally continues to be helped by successful vaccination campaigns and vast amounts of monetary and fiscal stimulus.

Sequential Brands Group (SQBG), MSC Industrial Direct (MSM), and Kalvista Pharmaceuticals Inc. (KALV) are expected to report earnings results before the open, while Re Royalties (RROYF), HNI Corporation (HNI), and Concord Medical Services Holdings Ltd (CCM) will release their reports after the bell.

Exela Technologies (XELA) is the most active stock in the pre-market, with more than 4.97 million shares changing hands at the time of writing. The stock was up 8.21%. The global business process automation company is currently benefiting from social media meme stock attention.

Data Storage (DTST) was the biggest gainer in pre-market trading, jumping 50.34% at the time of writing. Yesterday, the company announced that it had completed the merger of its wholly-owned subsidiary Data Storage FL with Flagship Solutions, consequently expanding its service offerings.

BSQUARE (BSQR) was the biggest loser before the bell, falling 21.28% at the time of writing. The stock gained around 77% on Monday as retail investors encouraged each other on social media platforms to push the stock higher.

In M&A news, Affiliated Managers Group, Inc. (AMG) has reached an agreement to acquire a majority stake in ESG dedicated fund manager Parnassus Investments. The financial terms of the deal are still unknown, however, AMG has confirmed that the deal will be funded by existing corporate resources. The merger will bring AMG’s ESG assets under management to about $80 billion.

Meanwhile, Blackstone (BX) has agreed to acquire Sphera from Genstar Capital for approximately $1.4 billion. The acquisition will be funded through Blackstone’s private equity vehicle and will allow Blackstone access to Sphera’s proprietary SaaS software, which helps its customers negate ESG risks.

GameStop (GME) is expanding its fulfillment network in North America. The company is leasing a 530,000 square foot facility in Reno, Nevada, as part of the expansion drive. The fulfillment facility should be operational starting in 2022 and is expected to enhance shipping across the West coast.

Amazon (AMZN) shares popped after the U.S Department of Defense canceled a $10 billion cloud contract initially awarded to Microsoft (MSFT). The government has since confirmed it will launch a new cloud computing contract and will invite bids from other companies.

Amazon has been challenging the awarding of the contract to Microsoft, insisting the process was unfair and politically influenced by former President Donald Trump.

Yandex (YNDX) has inked a strategic partnership deal with Grubhub (GRUB), paving the way for the commercialization of self-driving technology. As part of the partnership, the company’s autonomous robots will be integrated into Grubhub’s’ food delivery program to enable fast and affordable food delivery on various campuses in the U.S.