Big Oil earnings; $20 billion merger crumbles; U.S. GDP

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Premarket: 6 things to know before the bell – Oct. 27, 2017

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1. Energy giants: Investors will get earnings from U.S. oil heavyweights ExxonMobil and Chevron before the opening bell.

Big Oil, which has been under pressure from low crude prices, has largely missed out on this year’s market rally. ExxonMobil (XOM) shares have fallen by about 8% in 2017, while Chevron (CVX) has inched up by less than 1%.

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A Harvard study published in August found that Exxon “misled the public” on climate change for nearly 40 years. The same month, a number of Exxon’s refineries went offline because of Hurricane Harvey.

In September, San Francisco and Oakland filed lawsuits demanding that Exxon, Chevron and other companies pay billions to protect the coastal cities from rising sea levels. The following week, Chevron announced that its CEO would step down next year.

Other companies reporting results Friday morning include Goodyear Tire (GT) and Merck (MRK).

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2. Stock market movers: Shares in Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) and Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) are shooting higher premarket after the firms reported better-than-expected profits.

Mattel (MAT), Baidu (BIDU, Tech30) and Expedia (EXPE) shares are expected to slump.

Mattel (MAT) announced it’s suspending its quarterly dividend in order to free up cash. Its global sales have dropped 13%.

Aetna (AET) shares spiked 12% late on Thursday after the Wall Street Journal reported that it’s in talks to be purchased by CVS Health (CVS). Investors will be keeping an eye on any further developments. Both companies declined to comment.

3. Things fall apart: Swiss chemicals giant Clariant (CLZNY) and its U.S. rival Hunstman (HUN) have decided to abandon their $20 billion merger following a shareholder revolt.

The companies said in a joint statement that they would not join forces because of doubts that Clariant would get the backing of enough investors to push the deal through.

The deal’s termination marks a major win for top Clariant shareholder White Tale Holdings — a partnership between hedge funds Corvex and 40 North — that had opposed the merger.

4. Economy check-up: The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis will release its estimate of third quarter GDP at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Analysts expect slowed growth than the annual rate of 3.1% posted in the second quarter.

5. Global market overview: U.S. stock futures were higher.

European markets posted gains in early trading. Japan’s Nikkei posted a 1.2% increase to lead most Asian markets higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.3% on Thursday, while S&P 500 gained 0.1% and the Nasdaq dipped 0.1%.

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6. Coming this week:

Friday — ExxonMobil, Chevron and Merck earnings; GDP Q3 estimate released

CNNMoney (London) First published October 27, 2017: 4:36 AM ET

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