Dow Jones Industrial Average Futures Slip, But Stocks Set for Strong Quarter

Bill Ackman: I've Made A 'Huge Mistake'

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Mar 31, 2017 at 9:08 AM

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures are seated below fair value, pointing to a slightly lower start for the day. The Dow is now in danger of its first monthly loss since October. Still, stocks are on pace for a weekly win, and look to continue their quarterly winning streak. On the economic front, personal income for February matched estimates, at 0.4% growth, while consumer spending just missed predictions, climbing 0.1%. Meanwhile, the Fed-watched PCE inflation index rose 2.1% for the 12-month period ending in February, marking the strongest growth in nearly five years. This show of economic strength could keep all eyes on Fed speakers ahead of next week's release of minutes from March's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.
 
Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • The high-profile investment Bill Ackman called a "huge mistake."
  • Why bearish options trading is approaching its highest point in months.
  • The biotech stock that's already quadrupled in 2017.
  • Plus, BlackBerry earnings could send shorts packing; FMC makes a deal; and the Apple supplier making an M&A play.

Dow Futures March 31

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) are 16.5 points below fair value.

5 Things You Need to Know Today
  
  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 758,297 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 411,001 put contracts. The resultant single-session equity put/call ratio climbed to 0.58, while the 21-day moving average remained at 0.64.
  2. Smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd (NYSE:BBRY) is set to add 7.9% at the open, after reporting fourth-quarter earnings and revenue above expectations. That may not be such great news for short sellers, however, as their bearish bets represent nearly three weeks' worth of trading, at BBRY's typical daily pace.
  3. Chemical company FMC Corp (NYSE:FMC) has tacked on 14.4% in pre-market trading, on news the company will purchase part of DuPont's (NYSE:DD) crop protection business for $1.2 billion in cash, while simultaneously selling its health and nutrition business to the Dow component. Should these gains materialize, FMC could open in two-year high territory, and perhaps earn some upbeat attention from the brokerage bunch.
  4. Apple supplier Broadcom Ltd (NASDAQ:AVGO) is set to dip 0.9% at the bell, following reports the company is joining up with private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners to throw its hat in the ring with an $18 billion bid on Toshiba's chip unit, which has roughly 10 other interested parties. The news seems to be overshadowing a fresh "outperform" rating at Macquarie, but the shares have already climbed 24.5% year-to-date, as of Thursday's close.
  5. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will speak today, while Wall Street digests the Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI) and the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment report. Meanwhile, Fed meeting minutes will be in focus next week, ahead of a crucial jobs report.

Buzz Stocks March 31

Overseas Trading

It was a mostly lower finish in Asia today, though China's Shanghai Composite outperformed -- adding 0.4%, and snapping its four-session losing streak -- after data showed Beijing's official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) hit a nearly five-year peak in March. Separately, President Donald Trump tweeted that his meeting next week with Chinese President Xi Jinping will be "very difficult." Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.8% as airline stocks retreated, while South Korea's Kospi gave back 0.2% on disappointing factory data. Rounding things out, Japan's Nikkei shed 0.8%, after reports showed consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in roughly two years, while household spending fell by more than expected in February, and the country's unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in almost 23 years.

European stocks are in the red at midday, pressured by a lower-than-expected rise in the eurozone's consumer price index. Mining stocks are also in the red, amid political upheaval in South Africa. London's FTSE 100 is the biggest regional laggard -- down 0.5%. Nevertheless, Britain's main benchmark is on pace to close a fourth straight quarter in the green, its longest quarterly winning streak since 2011. The French CAC 40, meanwhile, is off 0.1%, after consumer spending fell by a wider-than-forecast margin last month, and German's DAX is fractionally lower, despite a record-low reading on unemployment.

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