US pre-market equity futures moved in and out of positive territory early this morning; struggling to stay afloat into Wednesday’s opening bell. This comes in succession to Monday’s trading which saw a battered and bruised Wall Street pushed to the brink of a bear market on Christmas Eve.

By the thinnest of margins, the S&P 500 spared its first -20% decline since 2009, a record run for the bulls, as the equity sell-off which has defied every hope of a coming to an end showed no respect for holiday cheer.

The benchmark gauge for American equities sat -19.8% down from its September 20 close, just seven points from the bear market threshold, negative -2.64% for the holiday-shortened session – marking the worst Christmas Eve trading day on record.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended -2.67% lower, while the Nasdaq ended the session down -2.76%.

Monday’s dramatic session came after Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, tweeted that he had spoken with the CEOs of the country’s six biggest banks to assess the health of the banking system, raising concerns that the administration knows something the market doesn’t. Mnuchin issued a statement saying; “The banks all confirmed ample liquidity is available for lending to consumer and business markets”.

Note: With many market participants away for the holidays, trading volumes are expected to be relatively thinner, with volatility projected to be exaggerated.

During today’s session investors are likely to assess comments from President Donald Trump in regards to his confidence in Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the American economy while the benchmark S&P 500 remains positioned at its brink.

TODAY’S TOP HEADLINES:

Economy & Markets: Trump lashes out at Fed – again: ‘They’re raising interest rates too fast’. (CNBC)
President Donald Trump on Tuesday reiterated that the US Federal Reserve was raising interest rates too quickly but added that US companies were “the greatest in the world” and presented a “tremendous” buying opportunity for investors.

Economy & Politics: Trump Stands Firm on Fed and Border Wall. (The WSJ)
President Trump criticized Federal Reserve interest-rate increases and said on Tuesday a partial US government shutdown wouldn’t end until Congress funded a wall along the border with Mexico, holding firm on his policy stances against the backdrop of a global economic slowdown and an extended world-wide stock plunge.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:
Today’s Economical Announcements

08:55AM – Redbook (YoY) (Previous: 7.1%)
08:55AM – Redbook (MoM) (Previous: -0.3%)
10:00AM – Richmond Manufacturing Index (Dec) (Previous: 14)
10:00AM – Richmond Manufacturing Shipments (Dec) (Previous: 12)
10:00AM – Richmond Services Index (Dec) (Previous: 5)

 

STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks

JD.com (JD): [NEWS] Authorized a share buyback program of up to $1 billion to be executed over the next 12 months.

Roku (ROKU): [REVIEW] Named “top pick for 2019” at Needham, based on growth in the over-the-top video market, strategic position, demographic reach, and other factors.

Intel (INTC): [NEWS] Intel received a $185 million grant from the Israeli government in return for a $5 billion expansion of its chip making operations in Israel.

Walmart (WMT), Target (T), Macy’s (M), Mastercard (MA): [NEWS] On watch following holiday shopping season numbers that were the best in six years – with Mastercard (MA) reporting a 5.1% increase in US retail sales between November 1 and December 24.

Amazon.com (AMZN): [NEWS] A top Amazon executive privately advised the Trump administration on creating a new internet portal that could generate billions for Amazon, according to the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

Perrigo (PRGO): [NEWS] Ireland demanded the Dublin-based drug maker pay a $1.8 billion tax bill related to its 2013 takeover of another drug company, Elan.

Marriott (MAR), Expedia (EXPE): [NEWS] The two companies are in the final stages of talks over fees that Marriott will pay the online booking company.

Activision Blizzard (ATVI), Amazon.com (AMZN), Alphabet (GOOGL): [REVIEW] A research report from Baird points to these “triple A” stocks as good bets for a rebound following the recent tumble in the stocks, given their behavior following other recent market corrections.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH): [REVIEW] Wedbush removed the cruise line operator’s stock from its “Best Ideas” list due to what it calls “investment price discipline”, but still rates the stock “outperform” with a $65 price target.

MOMENTUM STOCKS:

GAINERS: –
LOSERS: CPB, DRE, MPW, CAG, DK, CCL, PEB

TODAY’S IPOs:

None.