Stocks Signal Positive Start to New Year

MCD was named a top stock pick at Nomura

Jan 2, 2018 at 9:11 AM
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Stock futures are signaling a positive start to the new year, after the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), S&P 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) notched impressive 2017 returns. The premarket gains come as February-dated crude futures hold above the $60-per-barrel mark amid increasing political tension in Iran and the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) points to a fifth straight down day.

Ahead of this morning's release of the Markit purchasing managers manufacturing index (PMI) for December, traders will digest a raft of analyst attention for equities. Included in the bunch is McDonald's (MCD), after Nomura named the Dow stock its top U.S. restaurant pick for 2018.

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

  • Our founder and CEO Bernie Schaeffer breaks down the rapid rise of Roku stock.
  • The tax bill concerns that weighed on Goldman Sachs stock.
  • What options traders should know about volatility.
  • Plus, Netflix gets upgraded, 3 casino stocks to watch, and the housing name nearing new highs.

us stock index futures jan 2

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 729,716 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to 429,703 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.59, while the 21-day moving average moved up to 0.58.
  2. Shares of Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) are up 1.5% in electronic trading, after Macquarie upgraded the FAANG stock to "outperform" from "neutral" and boosted its price target to $220 from $200 -- in record-high territory. The streaming name closed out 2017 up 55.06% year-over-year, even after slipping on Friday after a regulatory filing disclosed plans for new compensation packages for its top execs.
  3. Macau gambling revenue rose 15% in December, below the consensus estimate for 17%-20% growth. In reaction, shares of Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd (NASDAQ:MLCO), and Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN) are all trading lower ahead of the bell.
  4. Wells Fargo upgraded Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN) to "outperform" from "market perform" and lifted its price target to $74 from $57 -- a 17% premium to Friday's close at $63.24, and a level the housing stock has yet to surpass. As such, Lennar shares are up 0.9% in pre-market trading, and could close in on their Dec. 26 11-year high of $64.42.
  5. The economic calendar is light ahead of tomorrow's release of the Fed minutes.

Stocks to watch today

Overseas Trading

It was a bullish start to 2018 in Asia, where most regional benchmarks ended higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rallied nearly 2% and touched a decade-plus high, led by strong gains for Apple suppliers. On the Chinese mainland, traders cheered a stronger-than-forecast reading on the Caixin manufacturing PMI, with the Shanghai Composite closing 1.3% higher. Gains were relatively muted in South Korea as investors kept a wary eye on the possibility of talks with Pyongyang; the Kospi was up 0.5% at the close. Markets in Japan were closed today.

Major equity indexes are wobbling lower in Europe at midday. Auto stocks are a particular pocket of weakness, pressured by soft data on car registrations. Geopolitical tensions are also keeping some buyers at bay, as ongoing anti-government protests in Iran's capital city of Tehran have now resulted in at least 14 fatalities. At last check, the German DAX is down 0.8%, the French CAC 40 is off 0.6%, and London's FTSE 100 has slipped 0.5%.


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