Wall Street pre-market stock futures rose on Monday, as investors monitored progress in this week’s renewed US-China trade talks.
US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, arrived in Beijing on Sunday, for scheduled trade talks focused on structural reforms and intellectual property protections in China – with negotiators eager to accommodate a middle ground as time ticks towards the March deadline, where tariffs on $200 billion worth of China-made goods could increase to 25% from 10%.
With that in mind, investors will watch for any mention of Chinese tariffs from a host of retail-focused earnings this week, the final major round of reporting for the December quarter, with; Walmart (WMT), Home Depot (HD), Lowe’s (LOW), Coca-Cola (KO), PepsiCo (PEP) and Macy’s (M) all due to issue their latest financial reports this week.
Today’s moves in pre-market come after Friday’s session, where a last-minute market-close surge for Technology stocks (+0.58%) helped drag the S&P 500 (+0.12%) into positive territory, to avert a three-day losing streak, sending the benchmark into positive territory for the week (SPY Perf Week: +0.15%).
The pronounced advance in tech stocks, saw the Nasdaq Composite also finish Friday higher, +0.2%, with the index positive +0.66% for the week, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average remained negative into Friday’s close, down -0.23%, yet, up +0.34% in weekly gains.
The moderately positive week for US stocks came against a backdrop of weak German manufacturing data and the downgrade of Europe’s forecast economic growth this year by the European Commission.
This week, US investors also will focus on talks between Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as the two sides attempt to broker an agreement that will prevent another government shutdown on Friday.
In earnings; Weibo (WB), BIDU (Baidu), Vipshop Holdings (VIPS), SINA (SINA), Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO), Beasley Broadcast Group (BBGI), Loews (L), and Insperity (NSP) are expected to report today.
TODAY’S TOP HEADLINES
Politics: Time Running Out to Avoid Go as Talks Falter. (Bloomberg)
Time is running out to avoid a second partial government shutdown, as congressional talks about border-security funding broke down during the weekend in the latest dispute over detention beds for immigrants.
Politics: Border-Security Funding Negotiations Stall as Shutdown Looms. (The WSJ)
Negotiations over a bipartisan deal for border-security funding have stalled, aides familiar with the talks and other officials said, raising the specter of another government shutdown at the end of this week.
Today’s Economical Announcements
11:15AM – ★★☆ – FOMC Member Bowman Speaks
STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks
Avis Budget (CAR): [UPGRADE] Upgraded to “buy from “sell” at Goldman Sachs in a valuation call, with the price target increased to $35 per share from $30. Goldman feels headwinds facing the industry are already priced in, and that between Avis and publicly traded rival Hertz Global, Avis is the better operator.
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “sell” from “hold” at Loop Capital Markets, which said it does not expect the housewares retailer to achieve its current full year guidance.
Nvidia (NVDA): [DOWNGRADE] Bernstein downgraded the chipmaker’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform,” noting the company’s recent cut in earnings guidance and a view that the shares have little opportunity to beat out its pares.
Tesla (TSLA): [NEWS] Cut 150 of 230 workers at a Las Vegas facility that delivers vehicles to North American customers, according to a Reuters report.
Activision Blizzard (ATVI): [NEWS] Plans to announce hundreds of job cuts Tuesday due to slowing sales, according to a Bloomberg report.
Morgan Stanley (MS): [BUYOUT] Buying Canada-based employee stock plan manager Solium Capital for $900 million in cash. The deal is Morgan Stanley’s largest since the financial crisis.
Netflix (NFLX), Microsoft (MSFT), Alibaba (BABA): [NEWS] Hedge fund operator Third Point (TPRE) dissolved its stakes in the three companies during the first quarter, according to its latest 13-F filing.
Apollo Global Management (APO): [NEWS] The private-equity firm is near a deal to buy 14 regional TV stations from privately held Cox Enterprises, according to Reuters quoting people familiar with the matter.
Walmart (WMT): [NEWS] A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit accusing Walmart and six other retailers of extortion. The retailers had been sued by three plaintiffs accused of shoplifting, who maintained that there was a conspiracy to force accused shoplifters to pay up front or in installment to avoid prosecution.
Lockheed Martin (LMT): [NEWS] The defense contractor and others were sued by the government for alleged false claims and kickbacks. The case involves a multibillion-dollar contract to clean up a nuclear site. Lockheed denies the allegation and said it would defend the matter vigorously.
Apple (AAPL): [NEWS] Apple saw a 19.9 percent drop in smartphone shipments in China during the fourth quarter, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.
GAINERS: ARWR EA, MSI, DXC, SC, SEND, MAS, NYT
LOSERS: QNST, SGEN, GT, HSIC, TWTR, BTU