Stock Futures Stall as Retail Sales Trim Stimulus Gains

Retail sales fell 1.1% in November

Assistant Editor
Dec 16, 2020 at 9:31 AM
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Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) are wavering at fair value this morning, following Tuesday's rally as Wall Street continues to pore over the latest on a second economic relief package. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has spoken much more determinedly about striking a bipartisan deal, and according to him, it looks like congress is hoping to wrap up a package "sometime soon."

S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) futures looking to open modestly higher, with the latter coming off a new record closing high. Meanwhile, U.S. retail sales are paring further gains, with sales falling 1.1% in November -- much higher than the expected 0.3%. 

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

  • What to expect after landing a huge IPO return, from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White.  
  • A look at STM's options surge yesterday. 
  • Plus, Moderna stock dips on downgrade; AOUT surges after earnings; and PEN drops on catheter recall.

Futures Dec16

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw more than 1.6 million call contracts traded on Tuesday, and 734,494 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.43 and the 21-day moving average stayed at 0.41. 
  2. Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) stock is down 5.8% in electronic trading, after Jefferies downgraded the stock to "equal weight" from "overweight," citing the stock's run-up and high vaccine expectations. The firm also raised its price target to $150 from $100, however. In the past month alone, the stock is up 64.7%. 
  3. American Outdoor Brands Inc (NASDAQ:AOUT) stock is up 10.5% ahead of the bell today, after the company reported better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings. To follow, Cowen and Company raised its price target to $36 from $27. Today has AOUT extending yesterday's 12.6% pop, and heading for levels not seen since the stock began trading in August. 
  4. The shares of Penumbra Inc (NYSE:PEN) are down 8.4% ahead of the open, after the company announced it was voluntarily recalling one of its catheters, citing its dangerous susceptibility to damage during use. In response, BTIG downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "buy," while no fewer than three other analysts cut their price targets -- the lowest from Cannacord Genuity to $204. Coming into today, PEN is up 14.9% year-to-date. 
  5. Today the Fed meeting will wrap up, and attention will shift to the Markit manufacturing and services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) index, business inventories data, and an announcement from Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

Buzz Chart Dec 16

Asian, European Stocks Higher

Asian markets were mostly higher today, as investors grew optimistic U.S. legislators may soon reach a stimulus agreement. However, data from Japan’s Ministry of Finance showed exports declined by 4.2%, as opposed to the 0.5% rise expected by analysts. Regardless, Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.3%, while South Korea’s Kospi and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.5% and 1%, respectively. Elsewhere, China’s Shanghai Composite settled just below breakeven, at a loss of 0.01%.

European stocks are higher as well, after European Commission (EU) President Ursula von der Leyen said progress had been made on a post-Brexit trade deal, and added the next few days would be “decisive.” Meanwhile, renewed stimulus hopes in the U.S. are also giving sentiment a boost, though Italy announced it will be joining Germany and the Netherlands in imposing new COVID-19 restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. In response, the German DAX was last seen up 1.5%, while London’s FTSE 100 is up 0.7%, and France’s CAC 40 is 0.3% higher.




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