Weak Retail Sales Data Sends Stock Futures Lower

President Trump has downplayed U.S.-China tariff tensions

by Patrick Martin

Published on May 15, 2019 at 9:13 AM

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) are pointed lower today, down nearly triple digits amid lingering concerns about the global economy. In China, ugly data on industrial production and retail sales fueled stimulus expectations. In the U.S., meanwhile, traders are digesting April retail sales that dropped 0.2%, falling short of the expected 0.2% bump. Trade will also remain in focus; although President Donald Trump said a trade deal "[will] happen, and much faster than people think," he could still slap tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods. 

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

Stock Futures Chart May 15

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 865,620 call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to 603,876 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 0.70, while the 21-day moving average remained at 0.63.
  2. Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB) stock is up 1.6% in electronic trading, after the company reached a "managed access agreement" with England’s National Health Service for Spinraza, the drugmaker's muscle atrophy treatment. Biogen also announced its executive vice president of pharmaceutical operations will be stepping down. Since a late-March bear gap, BIIB has consolidated below the $240 level.
  3. Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE:ACB) stock is down 4.8% ahead of the bell, after the cannabis producer reported fiscal third-quarter revenue that fell short of expectations. ACB was up 69% year-to-date, heading into today, and despite the pullback, appears to have found support at its 80-day moving average.
  4. Shares of Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ:ZG) are up 3% in electronic trading, after receiving an upgrade to "buy" from "neutral at Guggenheim. The analyst in coverage glowed about the company's home sales service and stabilizing core advertising business. ZG is poised for its fourth straight win, and is now testing its 200-day moving average, a trendline that rejected a an earnings-induced breakout back in late February.
  5. The Empire State manufacturing survey, industrial production, business inventories, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing market index, weekly crude inventories, and Treasury International Capital (TIC) are all set to report today. Meanwhile, traders can expect  earnings reports from Cisco Systems (CSCO), Alibaba (BABA), Dillard’s (DDS), Jack in the Box (JACK), Macy's (M), and Netease (NTES).

stock market news may 15

Asian Markets Climb on Stimulus Hopes; European Stocks Struggle

Stocks in Asia finished higher overnight despite weak economic data out of China. In fact, the disappointing numbers may have sparked the buying, as investors bet on new stimulus efforts from the Chinese government. Specifically, industrial output in the country was weaker than expected in April, while retail sales growth was the worst since 2003. The Shanghai Composite popped 1.9%, and the Hang Seng added 0.5%. In Japan, the Nikkei added 0.6% despite a huge slide in Nissan shares post-earnings, and the Kospi closed up 0.5%.

Markets in Europe are struggling, however. Traders there are digesting headlines around Italian lender UniCredit, who’s reportedly considering a bid for Germany’s Commerzbank. Also, Germany’s latest gross domestic product (GDP) report revealed the economy grew after two quarters of contraction. Still, the FTSE 100 was last seen slightly lower, while the CAC 40 and DAX were both down 0.5%.


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