Stock Futures Muted After Yesterday's Record Close

Investors await vaccine and stimulus package updates

Assistant Editor
Dec 18, 2020 at 9:31 AM
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures are modestly in the red this morning, one day after all three major indexes scored record closing highs. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) is looking to open higher, and S&P 500 Index (SPX) futures sit flat. Stocks rose during yesterday's session as the second stimulus package progressed in congress, with encouraging words from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Now, stock futures are fairly muted as investors await updates on economic relief and vaccine news, as coronavirus cases continue to spread at an alarming rate. For the week, all three major benchmarks are on track for gains. 

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

  • Roku stock hit record highs after streaming addition. 
  • SNOW just landed on Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White's list of stocks with high options volume during the last 10 days. 
  • Plus, PPG rises on acquisition; REGN gets a boost from trial results; and DRI slips after its quarterly report.

Futures Dec 18

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw more than 1.8 million call contracts traded on Thursday, and 689,930 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 0.37 and the 21-day moving average stayed at 0.41. 
  2. PPG Industries, Inc. (NYSE:PPG) stock is up 1% in electronic trading, after news that the paint company is buying leading Nordic paint producer Tikkurila in a $1.35 billion deal. Heading into today, the equity is up 8.1% year-to-date. 
  3. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) stock is up 2% ahead of the bell today, after the New England Journal of Medicine posted positive initial results from a clinical trial of the company's COVID-19 antibody cocktail. Year-over-year, REGN is up 33.6%. 
  4. The shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) are down 2% in pre-market trading, despite reporting a fiscal second-quarter earnings beat. The Olive Garden parent's revenue came in below forecasts, and the company announced lower-than-anticipated fiscal third-quarter earnings expectations while raising its quarterly dividend. Since March, the equity is up 179.6%.
  5. Today will bring last month's leading economic indicators

Buzz Dec 18

Stocks Lower in Asia Amid Pandemic-Related Updates

Asian markets were mostly lower today, after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced it would extend a program that aims to ease pandemic-related, corporate financing pressures by six months. In addition, the Japanese government set a 0% yield target for its 10-year bond, and a -0.1% target for short-term interest. A high number of coronavirus infections in some Asian countries also put a damper on investor sentiment. In turn, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.7%, while China’s Shanghai Composite and Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively. Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi settled just above breakeven, at a gain of 0.06%.

Meanwhile, European stocks are mixed, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) were in a “serious situation,” and that a post-Brexit trade deal may not happen if the EU does not change its stance on fisheries. However, news of Moderna’s (MRNA) vaccine approval in the U.S., as well as data showing U.K. consumer confidence is the highest it has been in eight years, is encouraging investors. In response, both the German DAX and London’s FTSE 100 were last seen up 0.2%, while France’s CAC 40 is 0.2% lower.






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