Equity markets in Europe and as well as US pre-market stock futures both chimed an upbeat tone on Thursday, following the Federal Reserve’s meetings minutes release, where central bank officials expressed concerns toward threats to the global economy; concluding that the current pace of US economic expansion warrants leaving interest rates at their current levels for the rest of this year.
Adding to the statement; officials said the Fed’s “patient” approach to monetary policy “would need to be reviewed regularly as the economic outlook and uncertainties surrounding the outlook evolve”.
This comes as major global risk asset classes hover near their 2019 highs and has reinforced similar economic vulnerability also expressed by the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, earlier this week.
Following yesterday’s meetings minutes, US stocks traded mostly higher into the close, retaining earlier gains. Wall Street’s S&P 500 benchmark index advanced +0.34%, its ninth rise in the last 10 sessions, led by Real Estate (+0.91%) and Technology (+0.70%) shares.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite also gained ground, up +0.03% and +0.54% respectively.
In today’s economic calendar, Thursday includes; Weekly Jobless Claims and Producer Price Index data for March at 8:30am EST.
In corporate news, Fastenal (FAST) is amongst the major companies scheduled to report their latest financials today.
TODAY’S TOP HEADLINES:
Brexit: May Accepts October Delay, Faces Skeptical MPs. (Bloomberg)
Theresa May accepted the European Union’s offer to extend Brexit to October 31, and must now sell it to skeptical members of Parliament and a Conservative Party losing patience in her leadership.
Politics: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will meet with Democrats as Trump increases pressure on the central bank. (CNBC)
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will meet with Democratic lawmakers at their annual policy retreat Thursday night as the central bank faces renewed political pressure from the Trump White House.
Today’s Economical Announcements
08:30AM – ★☆☆ – Weekly Jobless Claims (Previous: 202,000)
08:30AM – ★☆☆ – Core PPI (YoY) (Mar) (Previous: 2.5%)
08:30AM – ★★☆ – Core PPI (MoM) (Mar) (Previous: 0.1%)
08:30AM – ★☆☆ – PPI (YoY) (Mar) (Previous: 1.9%)
08:30AM – ★★★ – PPI (MoM) (Mar) (Previous: 0.1%)
STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY): [EARNINGS & DIVIDEND] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.20 per share, beating consensus estimates by 9 cents a share. Revenue come in above forecasts, and it gave better-than-expected 2019 earnings guidance. Same-store sales fell more than expected, however, and it reported an adjusted annual loss for the first time in nearly three decades. The company also increased its quarterly dividend by 1 cent to 17 cents per share.
Five Below (FIVE): [UPGRADE] Upgraded to “overweight” from “neutral” at J.P. Morgan Securities, following a meeting with management at a J.P. Morgan conference. At that conference, executives at Five Below expressed strong confidence in the company’s growth drivers.
Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “underweight” from “equal-weight” at Morgan Stanley, expressing concern about growth rates for the single-serve coffee business.
Tesla (TSLA): [NEWS] Tesla and partner Panasonic have reportedly put their plans to expand their Gigafactory on hold, according to Japan’s Nikkei news service.
JetBlue (JBLU): [NEWS] Announced that it would begin flights between the US and London in 2021. Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Jefferies, which said the stock now reflects improvements in same-store sales and profit margins after jumping 65 percent during the first quarter.
Costco (COST): [NEWS] Posted a comparable-store sales increase of 5.9 percent for March, excluding gasoline prices, foreign exchange, and the impact of a previously disclosed accounting change. The growth was slower than February levels, however.
Rite Aid (RAD): [EARNINGS] Lost a penny a share for its latest quarter, smaller than the 2 cents a share loss expected by analysts. Revenue came in below forecasts. Separately, Rite Aid approved a 1-for-20 reverse stock split, with shares set to start trading on a split-adjusted basis on April 22.
Marriott (MAR): [NEWS] Signed a new multiyear agreement with online travel site Expedia (EXPE).
Stitch Fix (SFIX): [NEWS] Chris Phillips, the head of men’s and kids’ clothing at the apparel styling company, is leaving to become CEO of online menswear brand Mizzen+Main, according to sources who spoke to CNBC.
PG&E (PCG): [NEWS] PG&E may expand its board as part of a settlement with a large shareholder, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to Reuters.
Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT): [NEWS] Amazon and Microsoft remain in the competition for a Pentagon cloud computing contract that could be worth up to $10 billion, according to announcement by the Defense Department. That decision pushes Oracle and IBM out of the bidding.
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM): [NEWS] ADM will seek voluntary retirements and may cut jobs as it undergoes a restructuring. The grain processor said it is trying to implement improvements in productivity, growth, and service between now and June 30.
Waste Management (WM): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Stifel Nicolaus, which points to headwinds in the company’s recycling business.
Eli Lilly (LLY): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at Guggenheim Securities. Guggenheim said Lilly has the best long-term growth profile in pharmaceuticals, but this is largely priced into the stock.
GAINERS: FSLR, TROX, BOLD, CAG, DISCA, ZAYO, OKTA, AVYA
DECLINERS: FLXN, LYFT, X, BA
PagerDuty (PD) (Price: 24) (Est. Vol: $217.7M)
Tufin Software Technologies (TUFN) (Price: 14) (Est. Vol: $100.1M)