Thursday December 22nd


Stock futures are muted after Wall Street’s rally on Wednesday

U.S. stock index futures were muted in early trading on Thursday, as traders digested a sharp rally from the previous session. Stock futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Averages fell 79 points or 0.23%. S&P 500 futures declined 0.25%, and Nasdaq 100 futures were 0.34% lower. CarMax shares dropped more than 12% in the premarket after the used car retailer missed profit and revenue expectations. Micron Technology shares slipped 3% in the premarket on disappointing quarterly results. Under Armour shares shifted between gains and losses after the athletics apparel maker selected Marriott executive Stephanie Linnartz as its next CEO. The moves followed another positive session for stocks. On Wednesday, the Dow gained 526.74 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite surged 1.49% and 1.54%, respectively. All 11 S&P 500 sectors finished the day with gains, led to the upside by energy. Nike and FedEx shares rose on quarterly results, giving some investors hope that earnings are faring decently despite concerns of a downturn. Strong consumer sentiment data for December also gave markets a lift. While better earnings results likely factored into the upbeat market sentiment Wednesday, oversold conditions may have contributed to the rally, according to Liz Ann Sonders, Charles Schwab’s chief investment strategist. “I think there were a couple of earnings reports that came out that were marginally better than expected,” she said. “But I also think that the market has been in another corrective phase, and, on some technical measures, got a bit oversold. Buyers stepped in. The wiggles on a day-to-day basis are hard to put a direct finger on.” Even with Wednesday’s gains, stocks are on pace to finish the month with losses. The Dow is down 3.51%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have tumbled 4.94% and 6.62%, respectively. All three major averages are slated to break a 3-year win streak and post their worst yearly performance since 2008. On Thursday, investors awaited jobless claims data. Asia-Pacific shares traded higher on the optimism on Wall Street as stocks saw a boost from upbeat earnings and a strong consumer confidence reading. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 2.7%, with property and technology stocks leading gains. In mainland China, Shanghai Composite shed 0.46% and the Shenzhen Component was down 0.33%. The S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.53% to 7,152.5 as Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong met her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Wednesday, and the two agreed to “restart dialogue” on trade and economic issues. Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.46% to 26,507.87, while the Topix gained 0.78% 1,908.17. The Japanese yen strengthened further to stand at 131.94 against the U.S. dollar. The Kospi in South Korea gained 1.19% 2,356.73 as the nation’s annualized producer price index for November reached its lowest reading in 19 months. Oil prices climbed for a fourth straight day on Thursday with U.S. crude, heating oil and jet fuel stocks growing tighter just as a wintry blast hits the United States. Brent crude futures gained $1.42, or 1.7%, to trade at $82.62, extending gains of around 2.7% from the previous session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up $1.34, or 1.7%, at $79.69 a barrel. Gold edged up on Thursday, helped by a softer dollar in holiday-thinned trading, but prices moved in a tight range as market participants awaited economic data for further direction. Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,818.40 per ounce as of 0225 GMT. U.S. gold futures were up 0.1% at $1,827.70. The dollar index was down 0.2%, making gold cheaper for holders of other currencies.