U.S. equity markets are modestly higher on this 2nd to last day of the trading year, led by financials and tech stocks, as major averages hold near record closing levels in seasonally light trading volume. Overall, markets holding levels, as the S&P remains on track for a 20% yearly gain, while the Dow and NASDAQ were looking at gains between 25% and 30% on tax reform optimism, strong earnings and economic data and upward momentum as rates (despite the Fed raising rates 3 times this year) still not that much higher (Fed rate still 1.25%-1.5%) despite all the positive developments. The tech heavy Nasdaq Comp slips after failing to take out yesterday’s intraday highs. News, volumes and research all quiet today.
Bitcoin leveraged names Overstock (OSTK), Digital Power (DPW), Long Blockchain (LTEA), Seven Stars Cloud Group (SSC), Riot Blockchain (RIOT), Longfin (LFIN), Social Reality (SRAX), Net Element (NETE), NXT-ID Inc. (NXTD) and Parateum (TEUM) all down for a second straight big down day as Bitcoin extends its slide overnight below $14,000 (touched lows $13,827). South Korea’s government announced tougher measures to crack down on cryptocurrency trading in the country and said it is considering shutting down the nation’s bitcoin exchanges. The cryptocurrency is now down over 25% from last week’s record high.
Treasuries, Currencies and Commodities
- In currency markets, the dollar extends its 2-week losing streak, falling to its lowest level in 3-weeks against a basket of currencies; Emerging-market currencies extended gains as the dollar headed for its worst year in in more than a decade,; the Turkish Lira advanced after the U.S. resumes full visa services in Turkey; the euro trades as high as 1.195
- Precious metals higher as gold looking to make it a 6th straight day of gains if it can finish positive today; gold has gotten a boost over the last week amid a pullback in the U.S. dollar, with the dollar index (DXY) falling to its lowest level in over 3-weeks
- Energy futures are mixed as oil prices slip a second day (ahead of inventory data at 11:00), after surging to 2 ½ year highs Tuesday following an explosion at a Libyan terminal; natural gas prices jumping amid the cold weather forecasts along the east coast
- Treasury markets little changed, slipping slightly after rallying yesterday on weaker confidence data; yields partially recover after dropping the most in a week yesterday
- Chicago PMI rises to 67.6 in December from 63.9 and easily topping the 62 estimate; it was the highest level since March 2011; New orders touched a three-and-a-half year high, noted MNI Indicators
- U.S. weekly jobless claims flat at 245K in week before Christmas, but slightly above the 240K estimate; the Four-week jobless claims average rises 1,750 to 237,750; Continuing claims rose 7K to 1.943M in the week ending Dec. 16 (vs. est. 1.9M)
- U.S. deficit in goods widens 2.3% in November to $69.7B (vs. est. $67.9B) from $68.1B in prior month; Imports rose 2.7% in November to $203.409B from $197.984B in Oct., while exports rose 3% in Nov. to $133.728B from $129.882B in Oct.
- DRAD +17%; sells its Medical Device Sales and Service business unit service contracts to Philips North America for $8M
- EROS +3%; said that Eros Now is now available to Amazon Prime members on Amazon Channels with an additional subscription of $7.99 USD in the US and $5.99 GBP in the UK
- HMNY +12%; MoviePass said this month that it had signed up more than one million subscribers in just four months, a level that took NFLX more than three years to reach – NYT
- NFLX +2%; outperforms in the tech space
- RRC +2%; as natural gas leveraged stocks (CHK) rally with colder temperatures
- WATT +28%; adds to yesterday’s 168% spike (recall received FCC certification for its wireless charging transmitter, WattUp Mid Field); tgt raised to Street high $45.80 at Roth Capital
- CLMT –11%; lowers FY17 CapEx view to $85M-$95M from $110M-$130M
- JBHT -2%; guided Q4 EPS 77c-82c on revs $1.9B-$2.0B (est. $1.02/$1.91B)
- LPL -1%; said it did not supply any organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels for Apple’s iPhone X smartphones this year https://goo.gl/rHEoV2
- RGLD -8%; after the company announced that given a lack of sufficient water resources, its mill processing operations at the Mount Milligan mine has been temporarily suspended
- RHI ; said it expects to take an one-time, non-cash charge to its provision for income taxes of $34M to $38M in Q4 on adjustments from tax reform
- RVLT -1%; lowers Q4 revenue outlook to $35M from $47M-$50M citing a slower recovery from the unprecedented weather conditions in Texas and the southeastern United States