Stock Futures Signal Strong Start to Second Quarter

Mining stocks are boosting European markets at midday

Apr 1, 2019 at 9:10 AM
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures are signaling a positive start to a historically strong month, with the blue-chip index set to build on its first-quarter momentum. Encouraging factory data out of China is whetting investors' risk appetite today, with bulls shrugging off an unexpected drop in February retail sales data. Futures on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) are headed for higher opens, too, in what looks to be a big kick-off to the second quarter.

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

  • 3 pharma stocks expected to double.
  • NextDecade teased a "major announcement" this week.
  • F5 Networks stock just landed a rare upgrade.
  • Plus, airlines brush off computer outage; a booming drug stock; and Wells Fargo blasted with bear notes.

dow sp500 futures on april 11

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 936,380 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to 608,984 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio slumped to 0.65, and the 21-day moving average remained at 0.63.
  2. Issues with the Aerodata planning weight and balance program sparked a brief systemwide computer outage for U.S. airlines earlier. Among those impacted were Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE:ALK), Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), and Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV), though all three airline stocks are trading higher ahead of the bell.
  3. Advaxis, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADXS) reported positive data for in a Phase 1/2 study for its prostrate cancer treatment, ADXS-PSA -- used in combination with Merck's (MRK) Keytruda. The shares of ADXS are up 38% in electronic trading, and have already doubled in value year-to-date through Friday's close at $5.91.
  4. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods downgraded Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) to "market perform" from "outperform," and lowered its price target to $50 from $58, citing short-term risk following the resignation of the big bank's CEO Tim Sloane. Jefferies also cut its WFC price target, to $49 from $50 -- roughly in line to last Friday's close at $48.32.
  5. Markit's services purchasing managers manufacturing index (PMI), the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index, business inventories, and construction spending are due today. Cal-Maine Foods (CALM) will report earnings.

stock market news april 1

Asian Stocks Rally on Chinese PMI Data

Asian stock markets started the week broadly higher, bolstered by the weekend release of stronger-than-forecast economic data out of China. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) jumped to 50.8 in March, unexpectedly surging out of contractionary territory, while Beijing's official PMI likewise rose to 50.5 from February's 49.2. By the close, China's Shanghai Composite rallied 2.6%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng popped 1.8%, Japan's Nikkei advanced 1.4%, and South Korea's Kospi rose 1.3%.

Upbeat Chinese data is boosting basic resources stocks in Europe at midday. Mining giants Glencore and Rio Tinto are both up about 3% in London, while copper producer Aurubis has added nearly 4% in Frankfurt. Meanwhile, British lawmakers are set for another round of indicative votes on various Brexit alternatives as the terms of the pending European Union (EU) breakup remain undecided. At last check, the German DAX is up 1.1%, while the French CAC 40 and London's FTSE 100 have each gained 0.7%.

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