Cohen Guilty Plea Drags Stock Futures Into The Red

Two former Trump associates are guilty of felonies

Managing Editor
Aug 22, 2018 at 9:16 AM
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures are trading below fair value this morning, as a double dose of political drama threatens to interrupt a four-day winning streak. President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen late yesterday entered a guilty plea in a Manhattan federal court to eight criminal counts, including violations of campaign finance law "at the direction of a candidate for federal office." Additionally, Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was found guilty on eight charges of tax evasion and bank fraud.

However, a strong second-quarter earnings report from retail giant Target (TGT) is helping to keep pre-market losses to a minimum, with that stock up 6.5% ahead of the bell. And later today, investors will digest the 2 p.m. ET release of the Fed's meeting minutes, which could feature clues about future interest rate hikes.

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

  • These 2 sectors sat out the S&P 500 rally, according to Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White.
  • This retail stock could struggle after earnings.
  • 2 brokerage stocks sold off on fresh competition from JPMorgan.
  • Plus, Exact Sciences links up with Pfizer; Starbucks gets downgraded; and Lowe's stock drops on subpar same-store sales.

Stock Futures Chart Aug 22

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 932,105 call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to 545,101  put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.58, and the 21-day moving average climbed to 0.64.
  2. EXACT Sciences Corporation (NASDAQ:EXAS) stock is up 20.3% in electronic trading, after the healthcare company inked a marketing deal with Pfizer (PFE) for its colorectal cancer screening test. EXAS is on pace to open north of $60 and fill its late-July bear gap. Although the shares have shed 25% in the past month, their 320-day moving average -- a trendline with bullish implications -- appears to have contained the damage.
  3. Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) stock is down 0.8% ahead of the bell, after Piper Jaffray downgraded the coffee name to "neutral" from "overweight." Analyst Nicole Regan cited "issues around inconsistent results, credibility of guidance, and management transitions" as the catalysts behind the note. Despite a few cautious notes recently, analysts lean bullish on SBUX; the stock sports 14 "buy" or better ratings, along with 11 "holds" and zero "sells."
  4. Shares of Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) are down 1.8% in electronic trading, after the home goods retailer reported quarterly same-store sales that fell short of analysts' expectations. Lowe's also slashed its full-year guidance, putting a damper on its second-quarter earnings and revenue beat. LOW stock has been consolidating just below the century mark for most of the summer. 
  5. Scheduled for release today are the MBA mortgage index, weekly crude inventories, and existing home sales reports. L Brands (LB), Momo (MOMO), and Sears (SHLD) are slated to release earnings.

stocks in the news today august 22 2018

Asian Markets Cautiously Climb; Auto Stocks Sink Europe

Asian markets finished the day mostly higher, even amid uncertain U.S. political developments. Both Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed 0.6% higher, with the former seeing gains on the back of outperforming auto stocks. South Korea's Kospi finished up 0.1%, while China's Shanghai Composite suffered a 0.7% loss following two days of strong gains.

European stocks are modestly higher in afternoon trading, with upcoming U.S.-China trade talks in focus and bank stocks outperforming. This is helping to offset sharp declines in auto supply stocks, following a negative earnings reaction for German tire maker Continental. At last check, London's FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 are both up 0.3%, while Germany's DAX is 0.1% higher. 


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