Stock Futures Pointed Higher With Stimulus Still in Focus

Investors are also unpacking worse-than-expected weekly jobless claims

Deputy Editor
Dec 17, 2020 at 9:30 AM
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Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) are on the rise this morning, eyeing a roughly 95-point gain, while investors remain focused on the $900 billion coronavirus relief package still being debated in congress. This proposed stimulus package would include direct payments to individuals. S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) futures are also in the black, with all three indexes eyeing new record levels. Meanwhile, Wall Street is unpacking weekly jobless claims. Last week, initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose to 885,000 from the previous week's 862,000, marking their highest level in over three months. 

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

  • Two cannabis stocks in the spotlight following big merger news
  • Dish Network stock saw triple its usual options volume yesterday. 
  • Plus, General Mills reports an earnings beat; the streaming platform adding HBO MAX; and Herman Miller stock brushes off an upbeat quarterly report.

Futures Dec 17

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw more than 1.6 million call contracts traded on Wednesday, and 686,216 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 0.42 and the 21-day moving average stayed at 0.41. 
  2. General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) stock is up just 0.2% in electronic trading, after the company posted better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings, in part thanks to a strong demand in pet food due to a high adoption rate during the pandemic. Coming into today, GIS is up 10% year-to-date. 
  3. Roku Inc (NASDAQ:ROKU) stock is up 6.7% ahead of the bell today, after news that the streaming platform will start carrying HBO MAX. To follow, Stephens and Benchmark hiked up their price targets to $250 and $410, respectively. In the past one-month time period, ROKU has added 40% on the charts. 
  4. The shares of Herman Miller, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLHR) are down 1.3% in pre-market trading, despite reporting a fiscal second-quarter earnings beat, as well as better-than-expected revenue. Recently recovering its pre-pandemic levels, MLHR is down 2.6% year-to-date ahead of today's trading. 
  5. Today will bring the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Manufacturing Index, as well as building permits and housing starts data. 


Asian, European Stocks Rise Amid Bank Updates

Asian markets were mostly higher today, as investors celebrated the Federal Reserve’s commitment to support the U.S. economy by buying $120 billion worth of bonds each month. In addition, the U.S. central bank promised to keep interest rates low. As a result, China’s Shanghai Composite rose 1.1%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Japan’s Nikkei added 0.8% and 0.2%, respectively. Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi settled just below breakeven, at a loss of 0.1%.

European stocks are higher too, as traders across the pond respond to the Fed’s announcement with just a much optimism. Also boosting sentiment is the U.S. $900 stimulus package that is pending in Congress, as well as the Bank of England’s decision to keep its main lending rate at 0.1%, and maintain its target stock of asset purchases at $1.2 trillion. In response, the German DAX was last seen up 0.8%, with industrial conglomerate Thyssenkrupp leading the charge. Rounding out the region, the France’s CAC 40 is up 0.4% and London’s FTSE 100 is 0.2% higher.





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