US equity futures advanced on Thursday, as the street seemed to look past a recent flare up in tensions between Beijing and Washington.

In recent developments, Beijing called Washington's order to close its consulate in Houston an “unprecedented escalation", while reports said that Beijing is considering to shut down a US consulate in China.

The US State Department said the closure of the Houston consulate was to "protect American intellectual property" and private information.

Separately, Senate Republicans and the White House resolved their differences over a fifth relief package yesterday. This sets the ground for negotiations with Democrats over the proposed $1 trillion package.

Ahead, today's economic calendar includes Weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30am EST, where economists expect another 1.3 million new filings.
In earnings; AT&T (T), Twitter (TWTR), American Airlines (AAL) and Intel (INTC) are all scheduled to report their latest financials today.

TODAY'S TOP HEADLINES
Coronavirus: US Coronavirus Cases Near Four Million. (The WSJ)
Total coronavirus cases in the US approached four million, while state governments and federal health officials rolled out measures aimed at curbing the virus’s spread.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR
Today's Economical Announcements.
08:30AM - ★★★ - Weekly Jobless Claims (Previous: 1,300,000)

STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks.
Twitter (TWTR): [EARNINGS] Reported a 34% jump in the key metric monetizable daily active users compared to a year ago, bringing the total to 186 million. Revenue fell short of Street forecasts, and Twitter reported an overall loss for the second quarter due to a one-time item related to a non-cash asset.

Tesla (TSLA): [EARNINGS] Earned $2.18 per share for the second quarter, compared to a consensus estimate of 3 cents per share. Revenue was above estimates as well, helped by the sale of $428 million in emissions credits while it dealt with the negative impact of the pandemic on automobile production and sales.

Unilever (UN): [NEWS] Saw sales drop less than expected during the second quarter, thanks to a strong performance in the consumer product company’s North American market. Sales fell just 0.3%, less than the 4.3% decline that analysts had predicted, although it was the first decline in quarterly sales for Unilever since 2004.

AutoNation (AN): [EARNINGS] Earned an adjusted $1.41 per share, well above the consensus estimate of 37 cents, with revenue also above forecasts.

PulteGroup (PHM): [EARNINGS] Beat estimates by 28 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of $1.15 per share. Revenue topped estimates as well, helped by low mortgage rates and a shortage of existing home inventories.

Whirlpool (WHR): [EARNINGS] Earned $2.15 per share for the second quarter, more than doubling the $1 a share consensus estimate. Revenue also beat forecasts, with the appliance maker noting recovery across all its regions as the quarter came to a close in June. Whirlpool also raised its full-year revenue outlook.

AT&T (T): [EARNINGS] Beat estimates by 4 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of 83 cents per share. Revenue was in line with forecasts. The company said the Covid-19 pandemic impacted results across all its businesses.

Blackstone (BX): [EARNINGS] The company's earnings per share of 43 cents matched Wall Street forecasts, with the value of its private-equity portfolio jumping 12.8% during the quarter.

Microsoft (MSFT): [EARNINGS] Reported quarterly earnings of $1.46 per share, 12 cents a share above estimates. Revenue also came in above forecasts. The company said the increase in the number of home-based workers boosted its cloud computing business, but the pandemic has also slowed sales to small businesses as well as ad revenue for its LinkedIn unit.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG): [EARNINGS] Beat estimates by 5 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of 40 cents per share. The restaurant chain’s revenue was slightly above analyst forecasts. Same-restaurant sales fell 9.8%, smaller than the 11.9% decline that analysts had predicted.

Align Technology (ALGN): [EARNINGS] Lost 35 cents per share, wider than the 5 cents a share loss that analysts had predicted The maker of the Invisalign teeth straightening device’s revenue came in above Wall Street forecasts. Results were impacted by dental practice closures related to the pandemic, but Align said practices had now reopened in all regions and that practitioners are increasingly using virtual tools as well.

Southwest Airlines (LUV): [EARNINGS] Lost $2.67 per share for the second quarter, a penny a share wider than expected. Revenue was above forecasts. Southwest said it expected travel demand to remain depressed until a Covid-19 vaccine is developed.

American Airlines (AAL): [EARNINGS] Posted a quarterly loss of $7.82 per share, compared to a consensus estimate of a $7.70 per share loss. Revenue beat forecasts. American will sell $1.2 billion in senior notes, increasing its available liquidity to $16.2 billion.

Dow Inc. (DOW): [NEWS] Said it would implement a restructuring that would see it cut 6% of its global workforce and exit unprofitable segments, saving it $300 million annually.

Bank of America (BAC): [NEWS] Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) raised its stake in Bank of America to 11.3% from 10.9%, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The new shares were purchased this week for an average price of $23.99 per share.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS): [EARNINGS] Lost $1.05 per share for its second quarter, wider than the 74 cents a share loss that analysts were expecting. The casino operator’s revenue also missed estimates. Las Vegas Sands saw a 97% drop in revenue from a year earlier as the pandemic kept visitors away from its gambling operations in Las Vegas and Macau.

Corteva (CTVA): [NEWS] Will be allowed to continue selling its weed killer Enlist Duo, following a ruling from a US appeals court. That follows an earlier decision by the same court to block sales of a rival herbicide sold by Bayer. Environmental groups had sought a ban for the Corteva product.

New York Times (NYT): [NEWS] Is buying podcast producer Serial Productions, to expand its podcasting operations. Terms weren’t disclosed but The Wall Street Journal reports the deal could be worth as much as $50 million.

MOMENTUM STOCKS
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DECLINERS: IRBT, ACAD

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