Stock Futures Mixed Amid Jobless Claims, Tech Rally

The tech sector is on the mend thanks to outperforming semiconductor stocks

Jan 18, 2024 at 9:15 AM
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Futures on Wall Street depend on where you're looking. While Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures are 80 points lower, the Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) and S&P 500 (SPX) are indicating a higher open, the former boosted by a resurgent semiconductor sector.

Weekly jobless claims posted a surprise drop to 16-month lows of 187,000, against expectations of a rise to 208,000 and sending the 10-year Treasury yield higher once more. Elsewhere, though regional business activity remains in negative territory, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's reading showed it inched higher in January, while housing starts fell 4.3% in December.

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

  • These are the top 20 stocks for straddle plays.
  • Why are China-based stocks at fresh lows?
  • Plus, chip stock leads the pack; Apple bounces back; and more PLUG problems.

Futures Chart January 182023

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw more than 1.8 million call contracts and 816,068 put contracts traded on Wednesday. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 0.69, and the 21-day moving average remained at 0.71. 
  2. Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd. (NYSE:TSM) stock is surging before the bell, up 7.8% at last look and looking to build on yesterday's 1.3% pop that followed a better-than-expected earnings report. The chipmaker said it expected revenue to grow at least 20% this year -- more than double the wider chip market's rate. 
  3. Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock is higher in electronic trading, shaking off news that the company was banned from selling current version of its Apple Watch with blood oxygen sensors in the U.S. The move comes after a patent-infringement case was filed against the company by Masimo. Instead, an upgrade to "buy" from "neutral"  at BofA Global Research -- as well as a price-target hike to $225 from $208 --is fueling the rally. AAPL is looking to overcome a 5% year-to-date deficit.
  4. Hydrogen fuel cell solutions provider Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) just disclosed in a filing that it will sell up to $1 billion of shares, entering into an at-the-market issuance sales agreement with B. Riley Securities. The news is dragging PLUG substantially lower premarket -- down 13.7% at last check -- and its looking to add to a nearly 84% year-over-year deficit.
  5. Keep an eye on consumer sentiment data tomorrow. 


Chinese Markets Recover From Massive Rut

Stocks in Asia finished mostly higher, with markets in China entering recovery mode following a plunge to an almost five-year bottom. Specifically, the country’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.4%, while Honk Kong’s Hang Seng saw a 0.8% lift. In Japan, a Reuter’s survey suggested nearly 50% of firms are looking to restructure business to raise corporate value. In the region, the Nikkei inched lower, while South Korea’s Kospi enjoyed a 0.2% raise.

Over in Europe, sentiment looks upbeat as well, with eyes remaining on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. London’s FTSE 100 is up 0.3% at last check, after Barclays’ CEO gave an optimistic outlook for the U.K. economy. Meanwhile, Germany’s DAX is up 0.7%, and France’s CAC 40 enjoys a 0.9% jump.


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