New York points to notable gains into Friday’s open, with US pre-market futures advancing, following a roller-coaster ride through the Christmas-Holiday shortened week which has seen US equities bounce back from dramatic selling pressure – on the brink of a bear market.

Buoyed by a late afternoon surge, the S&P 500 benchmark index added +0.77% to its value, reversing a decline of as much as -2.8% earlier in the session; the move propelled by advances in Industrial (+1.25%), Financial (+1.20%) and Health Care (+1.1%) stocks.

Market analysts were reluctant to pin the turnabout on any specific catalyst, although many pointed to continued re-balancing from pension funds as the late-received gift – the S&P now set to end its Christmas holiday trading week with a +3% gain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also ended in positive territory, for a gain of +1.1%, as did the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, +0.39%.

Although, despite Thursday’s gains adding to Wednesday’s historic rally, where the major indexes had their best day in nearly 10 years, equities are still on track for their worst December performance since 1931. The S&P 500 down -9.8% so far this month.

Investor sentiment has been hard-hit by recent US-China trade tensions, monetary policy, US government shutdown, President Trump’s dismissal of Mr. Powell’s actions and efforts by Mr. Mnuchin to calm investors’ nerves – Wall Street will continue to monitor these developments for potential signals into the coming new year.

In today’s economic data, the stock market will likely track recent Pending Home Sales data, set to be released at 10am EST, followed by Crude Oil Inventories at 11am EST.

TODAY’S TOP HEADLINES:

Politics: With No Votes Scheduled, a Government Shutdown Will Greet the Democratic House. (The NYT)
Republican leaders gave up hope on Thursday of reopening the government before the new year, leaving the border wall impasse to House Democrats as they assume the majority next week – and presenting Representative Nancy Pelosi with her first major challenge as speaker.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:
Today’s Economical Announcements

08:30AM – Goods Trade Balance (Nov) (Previous: -76.98B)
08:30AM – Wholesale Inventories (MoM) (Previous: 0.8%)
08:30AM – Chicago PMI (Dec) (Previous: 66.4)
10:00AM – New Home Sales (MoM) (Nov) (Previous: -8.9%)
10:00AM – Pending Home Sales (MoM) (Nov) (Previous: -2.6%)
10:00AM – Pending Home Sales Index (Nov) (Previous: 102.1)
10:30AM – Natural Gas Storage (Previous: -141B)
11:00AM – Crude Oil Inventories (Previous: -0.497M)

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

First Republic Bank (FRC): [NEWS] The bank will join the S&P 500 prior to the opening of trading on January 2.

Comcast (CMCSA): [NEWS] The Justice Department will not step up its investigation of Comcast’s 2011 purchase of CNBC parent NBCUniversal, according to a report in the New York Post.

Wingstop (WING): [UPGRADE] Wedbush upgraded the restaurant operator’s stock to “outperform” from “neutral,” pointing to Wingstop’s same-store sales growth prospects and profit margin improvement.

Philip Morris (PM): [NEWS] Subject of positive analyst comments at Piper Jaffray, which said the current price level for the tobacco producer’s stock represents a buying opportunity given strong underlying earnings growth.

Procter & Gamble (PG), IBM (IBM): [NEWS] The two companies separately announced that former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault will retire from the boards of both companies.

Lockheed Martin (LMT): [NEWS] Awarded a $712 million defense contract to develop advanced hardware for the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

Apple (AAPL): [REVIEW] D.A. Davidson reiterated its “buy” recommendation on Apple, with a price target of $280. The firm points to the stock’s pullback, reports of new manufacturing within India, and planned moves to mitigate the effect of tariffs.

Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI): [NEWS] The New York Yankees are in separate talks with Sinclair and Amazon (AMZN) about teaming up to bid for the YES network, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon (AMZN), Walmart (WMT): [NEWS] Could be impacted by new restrictions on foreign e-commerce companies operating in India.

Spirit Airlines (SAVE): [NEWS] Spirit was on time more often than any other US airline in October, according to new government data, and its flights have been on time about 81 percent of the time this year.

Dell Technologies (DVMT): [NEWS] Dell will begin trading today on the New York Stock Exchange, returning the computer maker to the public markets.

MOMENTUM STOCKS:

GAINERS: –
LOSERS: ESRX

 

TODAY’S IPOs:

None.