S&P 500, Nasdaq Futures Rise Alongside Jobs Data

The Federal Reserve dashed hopes of interest rate cuts in March

Digital Content Manager
Feb 1, 2024 at 9:25 AM
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Futures on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) are moving higher, after the Federal Reserve yesterday announced it will keep interest rates unchanged, with cuts unlikely to come in March. Meanwhile, Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures are near breakeven, as investors unpack today's onslaught of earnings reports.

Also in focus is jobs data, with claims seeing a 9,000 rise during the past week and bringing the total for the end of January to 224,000 -- just shy of a three-month record, which may be indicative of a cooling labor market.

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

  • 25 stocks that typically outperform in February
  • Cigna stock has an interesting trendline at play. 
  • Plus, Peloton's mixed results; strong demand boosts MRK; and oil giant buying back shares.

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5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw more than 1.4 million call contracts and 915,222 put contracts traded on Wednesday. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 0.64 while the 21-day moving average remained at 0.71.
  2. Peloton Interactive Inc (NASDAQ:PTON) stock is down 1.4% before the open, after the company reported slightly wider-than-expected losses for the fiscal second quarter, while revenue beat estimates. Peloton's current-quarter and fiscal year outlook also disappointed. Over the last 12 months, the shares shed 57%.
  3. Merck & Co Inc (NYSE:MRK) announced surprise fourth-quarter profits of 3 cents per share earlier, as well as revenue of $14.63 billion, both of which easily bested expectations. Strong demand for its cancer drug and HPV vaccine contributed to these results. MRK is up 1.8% premarket, and sports a 12.4% year-to-date lead.
  4. Shell PLC (NYSE:SHEL) stock is up 2.1% ahead of the bell, after the oil giant beat top- and bottom-line expectations for the fourth quarter, and announced better-than-expected full-year profits. The company also hiked its dividend by 4% and revealed a $3.5 billion share buyback program. SHEL added 5.8% over the last 12 months.
  5. Plenty more earnings reports to unpack this week. 


Global Markets React to Rate Decisions, Inflation Data

Asian markets finished Thursday on both sides of the aisle, as investors weighed the rate decision stateside with the latest economic data. China’ Caixin general manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 50.8 in January, showing factory activity expanding for a third-straight month, just one day after the country’s PMI contracted for a fourth-straight month. China’s Shanghai Composite finished the day 0.6% lower, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.5%. Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.8%, while the South Korean Kospi jumped 1.8%, after South Korean exports rose 18% year-over-year to their highest level since May 2022. 

Over in Europe, the Bank of England (BoE) is in focus, after announcing the decision to keep rates unchanged. Meanwhile, the euro zone inflation reading came in at 2.8%, easing as expected.  London’s FTSE 100 is 0.2% higher at last glance, while the French CAC 40 slides 0.6%, and the German DAX inches 0.09% lower. 


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