Stock Futures Drift Lower Ahead of "Phase One" Signing

The trade deal will be signed at 11:30 a.m. ET today

by Patrick Martin

Published on Jan 15, 2020 at 9:11 AM
Updated on Jan 15, 2020 at 9:25 AM

U.S. stock futures are sitting below fair value this morning, as Wall Street awaits the official signing of a "phase one" trade deal between the U.S. and China. Ahead of the 11:30 a.m. ET signing, there remains some tension between the countries, especially after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this morning that tariffs between the two countries will remain until a "phase two" agreement. Elsewhere, investors are unpacking the latest round of corporate earnings, with a mixed bag of reports out of Bank of America (BAC), Goldman Sachs (GS), and Dow name United Health (UNH).

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

  • Founder and CEO Bernie Schaeffer discussed the chart support for Walmart worth watching.
  • Why bulls were cheering on this retailer's rally.
  • Plus, BlackRock scores an earnings beat; Target whiffs on holiday sales; NKTR pulls opioid drug.

Stock Futures Chart Jan 15

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1.5 million call contracts traded on Tuesday compared to 705,510 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio stayed at 0.47, and the 21-day moving average remained at 0.52.
  2. BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) stock is up 0.7% in electronic trading, after the asset management firm reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that topped analyst expectations. BLK was red-hot before the event, fresh off an 52-week high of $525 just yesterday.
  3. Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) stock is down 6.8% ahead of the bell, after the retailer's holiday sales only rose 1.4%, sharply lower than the 5.7% rise last year. TGT is up 83.6% year-over-year heading into today, and scored a record high of $130.24 on Dec. 20.
  4. The shares of Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR) are down 14.7% before the bell, after the drugmaker withdrew its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) application for an opioid painkiller. An FDA panel had already unanimously voted against the drug. NKTR was up almost 30% in 2020 going into today after its collaboration agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY).
  5. Today will bring data from the producer price index (PPI), the Empire State manufacturing index, and the Fed's Beige book. Yet another pair of Fed speeches are due, this time from Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan. Signature Bank (SBNY), U.S. Bancorp (USB), and Alcoa (AA) will report earnings.

Buzz Chart Jan 15

Ugly German GDP Data Weighs on Europe

It was a lower finish in Asia, as caution set in ahead of today's signing of an interim trade deal between the U.S. and China. The Shanghai Composite surrendered 0.5%, while Japan's Nikkei also gave back 0.5% on a strengthening yen. Elsewhere in the region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng and South Korea's Kospi each fell 0.4%.

Stocks in Europe are mostly lower at midday, with investors digesting a dismal reading on Germany's gross domestic product (GDP), which showed the country's economy grew at 0.6% last year -- its slowest pace since 2013. At last check, the Frankfurt DAX is down 0.2%, while the French CAC 40 is also flirting with a 0.2% loss. London's FTSE 100, on the other hand, is up 0.2%, as weaker-than-expected inflation data sparks buzz of a potential rate cut from the Bank of England (BoE) in late January.

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