Stocks Set for Shaky Open on China, Earnings

Nordstrom shares are headed sharply lower after earnings

Managing Editor
May 18, 2018 at 9:15 AM
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures are cautiously higher, as uncertainty over China trade talks continues to linger. Earlier today, Beijing denied reports it has offered to trim its U.S. trade surplus by $200 billion. S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) futures are lower this morning, and all three indexes need a boost today to avoid weekly losses. Investors are also digesting the latest round of corporate earnings, with upscale retailer Nordstrom (JWN) sharply lower in pre-market action after its results. Elsewhere, the 10-year Treasury yield continues to hover near seven-year highs. 

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

Stock Futures Chart May 18

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1.05 million call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 600,947 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.57, and the 21-day moving average remained at 0.62.
  2. Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) stock is down 5.7% in electronic trading, after the chip maker's third-quarter sales forecast missed estimates. A flurry of price-target cuts have ensued, including a drop to $60 at Morgan Stanley. The news has Applied Materials stock on track to open below its year-to-date breakeven level at $51.12.
  3. PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:PYPL) stock is up 1.5% ahead of the bell, after the  payment processor bought Swedish tech startup iZettle for $2.2 billion. The move is an effort to directly compete with Square (SQ) in international markets. PayPal stock has gained 61% in the last 12 months, and its last pullback was contained by its 200-day moving average.
  4. Shares of Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) are up 0.9% in electronic trading, after Cowen initiated coverage on the chip stock with an "outperform" rating and price target of $325. The analyst in coverage likes Nvidia's transition into several fast-growing markets. NVDA stock touched a record high of $260.50 last Thursday, and has tacked on 28% in 2018.
  5. Today will be a slow day on the economic front. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester Mester will make her second speech of the week. Earnings from AstraZeneca (AZN) and Hibbett Sports (HIBB) are expected.

stock market news may 18

Asian Stocks Gain, While Europe Wobbles on Italy Drama

Stocks in Asia finished higher today. Japan's Nikkei gained 0.4%, with the yen easing after a core consumer price index reading that missed estimates. Sino-American trade talks were also in focus, as Beijing said it would end its anti-dumping probe into U.S. sorghum imports. China's Shanghai Composite ended 1.2% higher, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.3%, and South Korea's Kospi picked up 0.5%.

Markets in Europe are mixed at midday, with traders uneasy after credit ratings agency DBRS warned Italy's sovereign credit rating could be at risk due to the new political coalition program drafted by the country's leading populist parties. London's FTSE 100 is down 0.1%, Germany's DAX has shed 0.02%, and France's CAC 40 is 0.1% higher at last check.

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