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Dow Jones Industrial Average Futures Fall After Syria Missile Strike, Payrolls Miss

Oil, Defense Stocks Surge on Syria Escalation

Apr 7, 2017 at 9:01 AM
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures are trading below fair value this morning, paring steep overnight losses as investors consider the repercussions of U.S. missile strikes on an airbase in Syria. President Trump said the strike was in the "vital national security interest" of the United States, but Russian President Vladimir Putin called the move a "violation of the norms of international law." While the geopolitical turmoil could pressure stocks, it's acting as a boon for oil prices, with crude futures dated for May up 0.8% at $52.13 per barrel.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls report for March showed just 98,000 jobs added -- well short of the expected 180,000 -- on top of downward revisions for the February and January jobs numbers. On the other hand, the unemployment rate fell to 4.5% in March. As it stands now, the Dow, S&P 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) are set to end the week in the red. 

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • 2 Apple suppliers attracting heavy short interest. 
  • Analysts continue to put their chips behind this booming casino stock
  • How NVIDIA stock took advantage of a drop in Advanced Micro Devices. 
  • Plus, pre-market traders hit up USO; 2 defense stocks set to rally; and why Walmart stock is pointed higher. 

stock futures today

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) are 43 points below fair value. 

5 Things You Need to Know Today
  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 635,136 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 417,391 put contracts. The resultant single-session equity put/call ratio moved up to 0.66, while the 21-day moving average stayed at 0.64 for a seventh straight day.
  2. The United States Oil Fund (USO) is attracting heavy pre-market trading volume, as the uptick in oil prices has the ETF up 0.6% in electronic trading. Shares of USO have been hot in recent weeks, gaining 9.9% since their March 27 bottom to trade at $10.86. Today's early gains could put USO atop its 200-day moving average, which has capped its progress in recent sessions. Bearish options traders are likely hoping this level holds as resistance. 
  3. The strong military action taken by the U.S. is providing a pre-market lift to defense stocks such as Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) and Boeing Co (NYSE:BA). Specifically, LMT shares are set to gain 1.1%, while BA shares are pointed up 0.5% -- with Boeing stock also benefiting from a price-target hike to $195 from $185 at Cowen, representing record-high territory. Both Lockheed Martin and Boeing have put in strong performances over the past year, boasting respective 52-week gains of 18% and 39%. 
  4. Blue-chip retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) is set to get a boost this morning, thanks to an upgrade to "outperform" from "market perform" at Telsey Advisory group, which lifted its price target to $82 from $73. A number of WMT analysts have grown more bullish since the company's earnings release in February. 
  5. Data on wholesale inventories and consumer credit will be released today. Looking ahead, the economic schedule is set to pick up next week, when earnings season gets underway.

stock news today april 7

Overseas Trading

It was a mixed finish in Asia today, as oil prices surged on news of U.S. airstrikes in Syria.  In Japan, the Nikkei bounced off a four-month low to finish up 0.4%, even as the yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar. Also on the plus side was China's Shanghai Composite, which tacked on 0.2% as the two-day meeting between President Donald Trump and PRC President Xi Jinping got underway. Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi and Hong Kong's Hang Seng settled slightly lower, down 0.05% and 0.03%, respectively.

European benchmarks are mostly lower at midday, with traders spooked by growing geopolitical unrest. A sell-off in the basic resources sector is also pressuring stocks, after the European Union increased import duties on Chinese steel. At last check, the German DAX is down 0.4%, despite better-than-expected industrial production and trade data. The French CAC 40 is also in the red, trading 0.1% lower in the wake of an unexpected decline in factory activity in February. London's FTSE 100 is bucking the bearish trend, though, up 0.1%.


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