Simmering Trade Tensions Freeze Stock Futures

The Fed's annual Jackson Hole symposium kicked off today

by Patrick Martin

Published on Aug 23, 2018 at 9:15 AM

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures are treading water today, as investors continue to digest yesterday's Fed meeting minutes, which signaled a September rate hike but suggested the central bank is concerned about the potential economic ramifications of trade disputes. On that note, new tariffs from both the U.S. and China kicked in, even as low-level trade talks between the countries continue today. The Fed's annual Jackson Hole symposium also kicked off today, with Fed Chair Jerome Powell set to speak tomorrow.

Elsewhere, amid the fallout from Michael Cohen's guilty plea and the conviction of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump told "Fox & Friends" that, "If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor." He also suggested "flipping" should be illegal, calling it "not a fair thing." 

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

  • Analyst: Sell this overbought telecom stock.
  • Options are pricing in a big earnings reaction for this tech stock.
  • Skepticism is building on Finisar stock.
  • Plus, Nordstrom approves a new stock buyback program; LB stock sinks following dismal guidance; and Sears closes more stores.

Stock Futures Chart Aug 23

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 844,777 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 503,585 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.60, and the 21-day moving average remained at 0.64.
  2. Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN) stock is up 1.5% in electronic trading, after the company approved a new $1.5 billion stock repurchase program. JWN gapped higher last week following an upbeat earnings report, culminating in an annual high of $62.05 on Tuesday. Overall, the retail stock has added nearly 28% in 2018, supported by its 160-day moving average.
  3. L Brands Inc (NYSE:LB) stock is down 9.5% ahead of the bell, after the Victoria's Secret parent cut its full-year earnings guidance. In response, J.P Morgan Securities and B. Riley issued price-target cuts to $26 and $44, respectively. Should today's price action pan out, LB stock -- which just flashed a "sell" signal -- will be trading at new seven-year lows.
  4. Shares of Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) are up 2.5% in electronic trading, after the company announced it was closing 46 more stores in November. New CEO Eddie Lampert has been continuously trying to reduce Sears' real estate footprint, while mulling a $400 million offer for the Kenmore brand from his hedge fund, ESL Partners. Sears stock fell to a record low $1.15 yesterday, and has lost nearly 87% in the past year.
  5. Today will bring weekly jobless claims, new home sales, the Markit's flash composite purchasing managers index (PMI), and the start of the annual Fed summit in Jackson Hole. Earnings from Autodesk (ADSK), Big Lots (BIG), Gap (GPS), Hormel Foods (HRL), HP Inc (HPQ), Ross Stores (ROST), and VMware (VMW) will be released.

stock market news august 23

Asian Markets Push Higher Despite Tariffs; European Stocks Flat

Stocks in Asia finished the day mostly higher, even as another round of U.S.-imposed tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese imports went into effect. Japan's Nikkei logged a 0.2% win as the yen cooled, while both China's Shanghai Composite and South Korea's Kospi picked up 0.4%. However, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.5%, snapping its four-day win streak.

European markets are trading flat at midday, with traders keeping a close eye on Brexit negotiations and digesting Markit's disappointing PMI reading for eurozone manufacturing. London's FTSE 100 is up 0.02%, France's CAC 40 is 0.1% higher, and Germany's DAX is 0.03% lower, at last check.


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