Merck, Pfizer Stocks Put Pressure on Dow Futures

The Fed's policy-setting meeting will begin later today

Managing Editor
May 1, 2018 at 9:18 AM
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures appear headed for a lower start to the the new month, amid negative earnings reactions for blue-chips Pfizer (PFE) and Merck (MRK). This pre-market downside is muted, however, as Apple (AAPL) stock trades higher ahead of the iPhone parent's quarterly report, due after the close. Also in focus is the two-day Fed meeting, which kicks off later today -- though the central bank isn't expected to issue a rate hike this time around. Elsewhere, President Donald Trump last night extended the deadline for steel and aluminum tariff exemptions for the European Union, Canada, and Mexico to June 1. 

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

  • Schaeffer's Senior V.P. of Research Todd Salamone explains how sentiment could support higher stock prices.
  • The drug stock at risk of even bigger losses this week.
  • One theory behind the pre-earnings rush toward Snap call options.
  • Plus, Under Armour and Akamai Technologies report earnings; and Roku stock gets a big analyst upgrade.

Stock Futures Chart May 1

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 854,217 call contracts traded on Monday, compared to 524,070 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 0.61, while the 21-day moving average stayed at 0.65.
  2. Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UAA) reported a first-quarter earnings miss, but revenue for the athleisure firm came in above estimates. Under Armour stock is trading down 3% in pre-market trading, but could find a floor near $17, which has served as both support and resistance in recent months.
  3. Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAM) stock is up 3% ahead of the bell -- set to bounce from its 50-day trendline -- after the software consulting company reported first-quarter earnings and revenue above analyst expectations. In response, a slew of brokerages issued price-target hikes, including Craig-Hallum to $91 from $84.
  4. Shares of Roku Inc (NASDAQ:ROKU) are pointed up 0.8% in electronic trading, after KeyBanc initiated coverage on the tech stock with an "overweight" rating and $42 price target. The analyst in coverage called Roku a top player in streaming internet video content. ROKU stock has given back 37% in 2018, but remains more than double its IPO price of $14. 
  5. Auto sales, Markit's manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI), the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing survey, and construction spending data will also be released. Aetna (AET), Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Gilead Sciences (GILD), GrubHub (GRUB), Juniper Networks (JNPR) Incyte (INCY), Lumber Liquidators (LL), Seagate Technology (STX), Shopify (SHOP), and T-Mobile (TMUS) will report earnings.

stock market news may 1

Trading Volume Light Overseas

Stocks in Japan closed modestly higher today. A stronger yen kept exporters under pressure, but energy stocks gained on an overnight rise in crude futures. Japan's Nikkei finished up 0.2%, with most other major markets in the region closed for holiday.

Volume is also light in Europe at midday, with markets in France and Germany among those closed for Labor Day. An earnings beat from oil powerhouse BP is giving British stocks a lift, with support also coming from a weaker pound on the heels of downbeat manufacturing data. London's FTSE 100 is up 0.5% at last check.


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