Stock Futures Hold Gains After Strong Retail Sales

U.S. productivity rose more than expected in the second quarter

Managing Editor
Aug 15, 2019 at 9:25 AM
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures are signaling a higher open, as upbeat trade headlines help ease the sting of yesterday's ugly stock sell-off. Earlier today, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “hopes the U.S. will meet China halfway and implement the consensus reached by the two leaders during their meeting in Osaka.”

The blue-chip index is also getting a boost from Walmart (WMT), after the retail giant reported second-quarter earnings, revenue, and same-store sales that were above analyst expectations. Elsewhere, U.S. productivity rose 2.3% in the second quarter, surpassing the 1.5% expected gain, while retail sales jumped 0.7% in July -- more than the estimated 0.3% increase.

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

  • Options traders piled on these sinking stocks.
  • This drug stock could see another massive rebound.
  • Checking in with the financial sector after the inverted yield curve.
  • Plus, more troubling headlines for GE; Alibaba set for another post-earnings pop; and Buffett boosts stake in Amazon.com.

Stock Futures Chart Aug 15

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1.02 million call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to 858,059 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.84, while the 21-day moving average climbed to 0.68.
  2. General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) stock is down 5.1% in electronic trading, after the Wall Street Journal reported Bernie Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos accused the industrial conglomerate of fraudulent accounting. Markopolos called the company a "bigger fraud than Enron," while General Electric has issued a statement saying it "stands behind its financials." GE is set to open at its lowest point since late January.
  3. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) stock is up 5% ahead of the bell, after the Chinese e-commerce concern reported fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue that exceeded analyst expectations. Should this premarket upside hold through the close, it will mark Alibaba's third straight positive earnings reaction, but the stock has a ways to go to reach its May 3 record high of $195.72, settling last night at $162.06. 
  4. The shares of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) are up 1.1% in electronic trading, after a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing revealed Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) boosted its stake in Amazon last quarter. AMZN has shed 12.7% in the last month, but has pulled back to a trio of historically bullish trendlines.
  5. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing market index, industrial production, and business inventories will also be released today. Nvidia (NVDA), J.C. Penney (JCP), Nio (NIO), Tapestry (TPR), and Dillard's (DDS) will report earnings

stock market news aug 15

China, Hong Kong Stocks Swing Higher on Tech Strength

Asian markets started the day swimming in red ink as traders reacted to a rare inverted yield curve in U.S. Treasurys. While Japan's Nikkei was still 1.2% lower at the close, China's Shanghai Composite was up 0.3% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 0.8% higher, led by gains in the tech sector. Additionally, data showed China's new home prices rose modestly in July. South Korea's Kospi was closed for holiday.

Stocks in Europe are lower at midday, with bank shares struggling amid sinking bond yields. China's threat of retaliatory measures against U.S. tariffs is only creating stiffer headwinds. At last check, London's FTSE 100 is off 1%, the German DAX is 0.5% lower, and the French CAC 40 is trading 0.07% below breakeven.

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