Wall Street equity futures declined slightly ahead of Tuesday’s open, as market participants focused their attention on this week’s round of key trade discussions between the US and China – the two economies attempting to strike a deal in Washington, before the self-imposed March 2nd deadline, to prevent any further escalation of tariffs.
US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, will lead negotiations, starting Tuesday, with China’s Vice Premier, Liu He, expected to visit the US capital soon after, on Thursday, following a successful round of talks last week in Beijing.
Donald Trump doubled down on talks of trade optimism, telling his supporters during a rally in Florida, yesterday; “We’re making a lot of progress”, adding; “Nobody expected this was going to be happening”.
This comes after earlier reports of Trump hinting a trade-talk extension, in order to allow for further negotiation of sticking points that inhibit the two countries from reaching an agreement.
These headlined milestones in US-China trade talks coupled with Friday’s border security deal which averted another government shutdown helped buoy investor sentiment – the S&P 500 mounting +2.55% in weekly gains, adding to a strong start to 2019.
The S&P swung +1.09% higher, led by Financial (+2.13%), Energy (+1.61%), and Healthcare (+1.51%) sectors, with all 11 S&P 500 sectors finishing Friday in positive territory, helping the benchmark notch its third straight week of gains.
The Nasdaq ended the session positive +0.4%, taking the index more than +20% above its Dec. 24 low, signaling a bear market correction. The Dow, meanwhile, advanced +1.37% higher to end the week.
Aside from key trade developments, investors will look towards this week’s earnings lineup, with; Walmart (WMT), Devon Energy (DVN), Terex (TEX), Herbalife Nutrition (HLF), Medtronic (MDT), Advance Auto Parts (AAP) and La-Z-Boy (LZB) expected to release their latest financial reports today.
Today’s economic calendar includes an FOMC Member speech at 8:50am EST, followed by a NAHB Housing Market Index figure at 10am EST.
TODAY’S TOP HEADLINES:
Politics: States File Suit Against Trump Administration Over Wall Emergency. (The WSJ)
on Monday filed a federal lawsuit challenging President Trump’s national-emergency declaration to pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, setting up a showdown with the administration that could go to the Supreme Court and last through the 2020 election.
Today’s Economical Announcements
08:50AM – ★★☆ – FOMC Member Mester Speaks
10:00AM – ★☆☆ – NAHB Housing Market Index (Feb) (Previous: 58)
STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks
Walmart (WMT): [EARNINGS] Earned an adjusted $1.41 per share for the fourth quarter, beating estimates by 8 cents a share. Revenue also beat forecasts.
Advance Auto Parts (AAP): [EARNINGS] Earned an adjusted $1.17 per share for its latest quarter, 4 cents a share above estimates. Revenue in line with forecasts.
Navient (NAVI): [NEWS] Navient rejected a $3.2 billion takeover bid from hedge fund Canyon Capital and private-equity firm Platinum Equity Advisors.
Caesars Entertainment (CZR): [NEWS] Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has purchased 4.5 million shares in Caesars, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.
Lululemon (LULU): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at Nomura Instinet. The firm still believes that the cosmetics company is one of the best stories in retail, but that the share prices already reflect that upbeat outlook.
Ulta (ULTA): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at Nomura Instinet. The firm still believes that the yoga wear maker is one of the best stories in retail, but that the share prices already reflect that upbeat outlook.
McDonald’s (MCD): [UPGRADE] Stephens upgraded the stock to “overweight” from “equal-weight,” saying the restaurant chain’s core U.S. business is accelerating.
United Parcel Service (UPS): [DIVIDEND] UPS increased its quarterly dividend by 5.5 percent to 96 cents per share.
Oracle (ORCL): [BUYBACK] Oracle added $12 billion to its stock buyback plan, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by the business software giant.
Southwest Airlines (LUV): [NEWS] The airline is being probed by the Federal Aviation Administration for widespread miscalculation of checked baggage loads, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Raytheon (RTN): [NEWS] The defense contractor won a $1.55 billion contract from the United Arab Emirates to supply its air force with missile launching platform systems.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY): [NEWS] Hedge fund Starboard Value is asking a proxy solicitor to investigate the level of support among shareholders for the drugmaker’s $74 billion deal to buy Celgene, according to Reuters. Starboard has reportedly not decided whether to support the deal.
Papa John’s (PZZA): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “sell” from “hold” at Stifel Nicolaus, which points to sales declines at the pizza chain and the expectation that the company will need to continue to support its franchised operations.
GAINERS: AXL, DAN, MRC, RDFN, RDN, YETI, NGL
LOSERS: NWL, MAT, KO