Stock Futures Stifled Ahead of Fed Decision

Retail sales rose just 0.3% last month

Deputy Editor
Dec 15, 2021 at 9:09 AM
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Stock futures are muted this morning, as investors await the conclusion of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting and statement from Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Amid high inflation, the central bank is expected to speed up the tapering of its bond-buying program. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) are falling lower in the wake of yesterday's triple-digit losses, while S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) futures sit closer to fair value. Meanwhile, retail sales added a lower-than-expected 0.3% in November. 

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

  • The best way to play the Nasdaq-100 rebalancing, per Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. 
  • Checking in with this retail stock after recent record highs. 
  • Plus, TM rises on vehicle production; and two stocks downgraded on competition.

Futures Dec15

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw more than 1.3 million call contracts traded on Tuesday, and 785,445 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.60, and the 21-day moving average stayed at 0.48.
  2. Toyota Motor Corp (NYSE:TM) is up 2.4% before the bell, after news that the company plans to produce a record 800,000 vehicles in January. On the charts, the shares have found support at the $176 level, and the ascending 160-day moving average caught this weeks pullback to that trendline. Year-to-date, TM is up 17%. 
  3. Bernstein downgraded Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) to "market perform" from "outperform," citing stiff competition around its popular eye drug Eylea, which accounts for around half of the company's revenue. Regeneron stock is down 4.2% pre-market. 
  4. Domino's Pizza Inc (NYSE:DPZ) is down 1.5% in electronic trading, after a downgrade from Barclays to "underweight" from "equal weight," with a $5 price target cut to $495. The firm noted that Covid-19 headwinds for the stock's peers are fading. Year-to-date, DPZ is up 36.4%. 
  5. Today will bring the import and export price indexes, the Empire State manufacturing index, National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) index, and business inventories.

Asian Markets Weighed Down by Retail Sales

Asian markets fell on Wednesday, amid a slew of economic data out of China, while reports of the Covid-19 omicron variant’s quickening spread weighed on stocks. As far as China’s economic, the country’s industrial output for November rose 3.8% in the past 12 months, beating estimates, while retail sales last month climbed 3.9% year-over-year, coming in lower than October’s increase and falling below expectations. In response, China’s Shanghai Composite lost 0.4%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng shed 0.9%, the South Korean Kospi rose a miniscule 0.05%, and the Nikkei in Japan edged 0.1% higher. 

Over in Europe, markets are mixed ahead of key monetary policy decisions from the Fed, as well as the Bank of England (BoE), and the European Central Bank (ECB). Meanwhile, investors are also digesting inflation data out of the U.K., where the Consumer Price Index (CPI) saw a 5.1% year-over-year rise last month, marking its sharpest jump in a decade, and coming in much higher than the BoE expected. At last check, the London FTSE 100 is down 0.3%, the German DAX is 0.4% higher, and the French CAC 40 is up 0.7%. 


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