Dow Futures Jump as Focus Remains On Tax Reform

The House will have to vote again on the GOP tax bill, but it's expected to pass once again

Josh Selway
Dec 20, 2017 at 9:00 AM
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U.S. stock futures are broadly trading above fair value this morning, as tax reform remains the main focus on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is signaling a triple-digit jump, and tech stocks look ready to rebound, illustrated by a sharp rise in Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) futures. The House of Representatives and the Senate both were able to pass the GOP's pro-business tax bill, but the House must vote again after three parts of the measure failed to comply with the Byrd Rule. Still, the tax bill is widely expected to reach President Trump's desk this week. Outside of taxes, investors will digest existing home sales, an update on domestic crude inventories, as well as a number of corporate earnings reports.

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

stocks today

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 857,115 call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to 453,987 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio ticked up to 0.53, while the 21-day moving average dipped to 0.57.
  2. BlackBerry Ltd (NYSE:BB) could touch a three-year high today, thanks to the company's better-than-expected third-quarter earnings report. BB shares are trading up 8% in pre-market action, which is good news for recent options traders. The equity was already up 58% in 2017 as of last night's close at $10.87.
  3. Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) call buyers should be cheering this morning, too. The semiconductor stock is pacing for a nearly 7% jump at the open, following a strong earnings report that was highlighted by a 71% surge in quarterly revenue. A number of brokerage firms have raised their outlooks on MU stock this morning, as well. Stifel, for example, boosted its target to $75 from $65 -- territory the stock hasn't seen since 2000.
  4. One final earnings winner today is FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX), as the delivery giant rises 2% in electronic trading. The company exceeded bottom-line estimates for the quarter, with CEO Fred Smith adding the company was "on track for another record holiday-shipping season." Just two days ago, FDX stock hit a record peak of $243.69, but it's on track to open well north of that high-water mark.
  5. Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) and Winnebago (WGO) will report earnings, too.

Stocks moving higher ahead of the bell today

Overseas Trading

It was a mostly lower finish in Asia today, as traders sold the news on the passing of the GOP tax bill in the U.S. At the close, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.07%, while China's Shanghai Composite and South Korea's Kospi had each lost 0.3% -- the latter after retail stocks fell on reports China has banned group tours to the country. Japan's Nikkei bucked the regional bearish bias, though, adding 0.1% as financial shares got a lift from rising U.S. bond yields.

Most European stocks are in the red at midday, with consumer discretionary stocks leading the path lower amid a steep selloff for Steinhoff International. The shares were last seen down 29%, after the South African retailer said it couldn't provide details regarding a recent accounting scandal. Traders are also digesting a European Court of Justice ruling that defined Uber as a transportation company, not a digital one. Most recently, the German DAX was down 0.3%, while the French CAC 40 was off 0.2%. London's FTSE 100 is holding on to a modest 0.03% gain, even after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its 2017 and 2018 forecasts for U.K. growth.


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