Stock Futures Waver On More White House Drama

President Trump is reportedly considering firing his national security advisor, H.R. McMaster

Mar 16, 2018 at 9:15 AM
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U.S. stock futures are signaling a cautious open, as traders watch mixed reports surrounding the White House. In the same week he fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, President Donald Trump is supposedly considering removing National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster -- though a tweet from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested that wasn't the case -- while other reports speculate White House Chief of Staff John Kelly could resign, as well. Elsewhere, a busy day for economic data kicked off with a larger-than-forecast drop in housing starts in February, while a positive earnings reaction for Adobe (ADBE) could provide a lift for tech stocks. Still, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI), S&P 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are all pacing for weekly losses.

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

  • 4 Asian ETFs options traders are targeting.
  • How Seagate options bulls won big.
  • Buy the dip on these industrial stocks.
  • Plus, analysts react to Adobe's beat; Ulta tests chart support again; and Overstock sinks.

stocks today

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 852,703 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 532,981 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio moved down to 0.63, and the 21-day moving average stayed at 0.61
  2. ADBE shares are set to open up almost 4%, which would have the stock trading at record levels, thanks to the company's better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings report. The software concern was already up 79% year-over-year and several analysts upped their price targets after last night's results. Jefferies set the bar the highest at $263, compared to Adobe's Thursday close at $218.87.
  3. Meanwhile, a number of brokerage firms have weighed in bearishly on Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ:ULTA) after its quarterly results, though most of the new price targets are well above the stock's Thursday close at $206.14. The cosmetic company's fourth-quarter profit was lower than anticipated, but ULTA shares could again find support at $200.
  4. Overstock.com Inc (NASDAQ:OSTK) announced disappointing fourth-quarter revenue and failed to give an update on the sale of its e-commerce business, sending the shares 14% lower in pre-market trading. OSTK shares exploded higher in the latter months of 2017, culminating in a January high near $90, after the company shifted its focus to blockchain. Unfortunately this move attracted the attention of regulators.
  5. Wall Street will react to industrial production data, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). Hibbett Sports (HIBB) and Tiffany (TIF) will unveil their quarterly results. Next week the attention turns to the March Fed meeting

stock market news march 16

Financial Stocks Give European Indexes a Lift

Asian markets ended mostly lower today, with traders losing their risk appetite amid rising U.S. political and policy uncertainty. A safe-haven boost for the yen pushed Japan's Nikkei to a loss of 0.6%, led by automakers and other key exporters. China's Shanghai Composite finished 0.6% lower, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gave back 0.1%. South Korea's Kospi bucked the regional trend and edged out a 0.06% advance, propped up by a late-session boost from foreign buyers.

In Europe, stocks are looking up at midday, but gains have been limited by overarching geopolitical concerns and trade war tensions. Financial stocks are pulling their weight, with Britain's NEX Group vaulting more than 30% higher after it was approached by CME Group for a possible takeover. London's FTSE 100 is up 0.1% at last check. The French CAC 40 is fractionally higher as well, thanks to a 4.7% rally from oil company Rubis, while the German DAX has managed a 0.1% lead following a technical glitch that delayed the start of trading by 40 minutes.

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