Stock Futures Muted as Trade Tailwinds Fade

FedEx's disastrous earnings update could be a headwind today

by Patrick Martin

Published on Dec 18, 2019 at 9:20 AM

A day after the S&P 500 Index (SPX) hit fresh record highs, stocks look set for a slow start this morning. Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures are flat ahead of the opening bell, as China trade deal tailwinds from last week could be starting to wear off, while weak overseas trading and disappointing FedEx (FDX) earnings could also limit upside. Meanwhile, Wall Street is also eyeing the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, as House Democrats are expected to vote in favor of two articles of impeachment today.

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

  • Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White looks at the best stocks for contrarian traders.
  • These two stocks saw unusual options activity yesterday. 
  • Plus, FedEx dinged after earnings; insider trading drama at Palo Alto Networks; and Skechers gets a new "buy" rating.  

Stock Futures Chart Dec 18

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1.04 million call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to 552,848 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 0.53, while the 21-day moving average stayed at 0.59.
  2. FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) stock is down 7.6% in electronic trading, after the logistics icon reported fiscal second-quarter earnings and revenue that fell short of expectations. The company also trimmed its 2020 forecast due to its severed relationship with Amazon.com (AMZN). So far, five brokerages have issued price-target cuts, the lowest coming from J.P. Morgan Securities to $147. 
  3. Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) is only down 0.3% ahead of the bell, but in focus after a former I.T. administrator was charged with insider trading. The cybersecurity stock is up 22.4% year-to-date, but has faced pressure from its 40-day moving average since a post-earnings bear gap
  4. The shares of Skechers USA Inc (NYSE:SKX) are higher before the open, after Deutsche Bank initiated coverage on the shoemaker with a "buy" rating and $49 price target. The analyst in coverage believes SKX's coverage of the global market is underrated. Skechers stock nabbed an annual high of $42.22 on Dec. 13, and is up 80% in 2019. 
  5. Weekly crude inventories are due. On the earnings slate are General Mills (GIS), Herman Miller (MLHR), Micron Technology (MU), and Paychex (PAYX).

Buzz Chart Dec 18

No-Deal Brexit Worries Weigh on Overseas Markets

Stocks in Asia settled mostly lower today, as data revealed a sharp fall in Japanese exports and rumors of a no-deal Brexit began to resurge over in Europe. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.2%, the Shanghai Composite shed 0.2%, the South Korean Kospi lost 0.04%, and the Nikkei in Japan shaved off 0.6%.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s threat to cut off trade talks by December 2020, alongside the aforementioned no-deal Brexit talks, has European markets mixed at midday. In response, the FTSE 100 in London is 0.1% higher, while the French CAC 40 is just above breakeven. Meanwhile, the Frankfurt DAX in Germany is down 0.2%, despite a sunny ifo business climate survey.


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