Stock Futures Mixed Ahead of Fed Comments

The Fed's two-day meeting will kick off today

Digital Content Manager
Mar 16, 2021 at 9:20 AM
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Stock futures are clinging close to fair value this morning, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) coming off its seventh-consecutive win, down roughly 19 points ahead of the bell. Futures on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) are looking at modest gains, as investors look ahead to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's comments concerning interest rates and inflation tomorrow  afternoon. The central bank's two-day meeting will begin today. The 10-year Treasury yield is still sitting just below its Friday highs, last seen around 1.6%. 

A wider-than-expected drop in retail sales could also be weighing on equities on Tuesday. U.S. retail sales for February dropped 3% -- a much deeper plummet than the 0.5% drop expected. 

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

  • Fresh highs for GenMark stock after its billion-dollar buyout.
  • Schaeffer's Senior V.P. of Research Todd Salamone's take on the RUT and SPX advance.
  • Plus, SBUX gets an upgrade; WBA sued over opioid crisis; and AZN vaccine gets the greenlight in Canada. 

Futures Chart March 16

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw more than 1.84 million call contracts traded on Monday, and 697,941 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 0.38 and the 21-day moving average fell to 0.45.
  2. Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) is up 2% ahead of the bell, after BTIG upgraded the coffee chain's stock to "buy" from "neutral." The analyst cited recent momentum for the company, and positive growth sparked by another round of stimulus checks. Should this morning's gains hold, SBUX could be headed for  another record closing high. 
  3. The shares of  Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA) are up less than 0.1% before markets open, following news that the company is being sued by Arkansas' attorney general for helping to fuel the state's opioid crisis, though the pharmacy giant promised to defend itself stating that health and safety are always of utmost concern for the company. WBA just came off its fourth-straight high and is up 38% this year. 
  4. Despite the recent drama surrounding AstraZeneca plc (NASDAQ:AZN), the company's Covid-19 vaccination has been recommended for those 65 and older in Canada. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the company itself have asserted that the jab is safe, pushing the equity up 2.4% ahead of the bell. AZN closed yesterday's session just 2.4% below its year-to-date breakeven. 
  5. Today traders will parse through core retail sales, the import and export price indexes, industrial production data, business inventories, and the National Association of Home Builders index.


Asian Markets Pop Ahead of Interest Rate Decision

Asian markets were higher on Tuesday, in anticipation of this week’s Federal Reserve meeting in the U.S., where the future of interest rates will be determined. Investors were also looking ahead to the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) economic policy meeting, which starts on Thursday. Leading the gainers was China’s Shanghai Composite, which rose 0.8%. Meanwhile, both the South Korean Kospi and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.7%, and Japan’s Nikkei tacked on 0.5%.

European markets are also higher, as investors await both the Fed’s decision and the Bank of England’s (BoE) meeting on Thursday. Vaccine developments are top of mind as well, after Germany joined a growing list of countries that suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s (AZN) Covid-19 vaccine over blood clot concerns. At last check, the London FTSE 100 is up 0.9%, the German DAX is 0.6% higher, and France’s CAC 40 has added 0.3%.



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