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The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was set for a hot start to the second quarter ahead of the latest data on weekly jobless claims.

Nasdaq futures were higher by 0.91% while S&P 500 futures were up 0.24% and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were little changed.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MSFTMICROSOFT CORP.235.77+3.92+1.69%
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In stocks, Microsoft Corp. won a $21.9 billion contract to supply the U.S. Army with augmented reality headsets for the next 10 years.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MUMICRON TECHNOLOGY, INC.88.21+1.67+1.93%
WDCWESTERN DIGITAL CORP.66.75+1.29+1.97%
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In deals, Micron Technology Inc. and Western Digital Corp. are each exploring deals for Japanese semiconductor manufacturer Kioxia Holdings Corp. that would value the company at about $30 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Kioxia is also looking into a possible initial public offering, the report said.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AMDADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC.78.50+2.50+3.29%
INTCINTEL CORP.64.00+0.23+0.36%
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The news lifted shares of other semiconductors, including Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel Corp.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
FFORD MOTOR CO.12.29-0.18-1.44%
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Elsewhere, Ford Motor Co. said it will cut production at seven North American plants due to the global chip shortage. The company will provide updated guidance on April 28.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
JNJJOHNSON & JOHNSON164.62-0.50-0.30%
EBSEMERGENT BIOSOLUTIONS92.91+2.61+2.89%
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Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson shares slipped after a batch of its COVID-19 vaccine was discovered to have a problem in the manufacturing process overseen by Emergent BioSolutions Inc. The company did not reveal how many doses were ruined.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
PFEPFIZER INC.36.23+0.12+0.33%
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Pfizer Inc. announced its COVID-19 vaccine was found to be 91% effective against the South African variant. The drug manufacturer said it plans to seek full regulatory approval from U.S. regulators.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed $1.04 to $60.20 per barrel and gold ticked down $1.20 to $1,714.40 an ounce.

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Overseas markets were broadly higher.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was out front in Europe, trading up 0.52%, while Germany’s DAX 30 and France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.29% and 0.21%, respectively.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 1.97%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rallied 0.72% and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.71%.

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