U.S. stock futures are pointing to a higher open, looking to trade back near all-time highs again as oil prices remain around 2 ½ year highs and as investors await a busy round of economic data. The small gains come after all three benchmarks closed slightly higher on light volume Wednesday. Overall, given the abbreviated holiday week and as investors prepare for another long holiday weekend, volumes, market news and analyst research has been extremely quiet the last few days. Bitcoin prices plunged, with spot prices erasing more than $1,000 after South Korea announced tougher measures to crack down on cryptocurrencies trade. The dollar extended its decline against most other major currencies, with the ICE index dollar index (DXY) falling further. In Asian markets, The Nikkei Index dropped -127 points to end at 22,783, the Shanghai Index gained 20 points to settle at 3,296 and the Hang Seng Index jumped 266 points to settle at 29,863. In Europe, the German DAX is down around -20 points at 13,050, while the FTSE 100 is up a few points at 7,630. The Stoxx Europe 600 index is now on track for an 8.1% year-to-date gain, which would be its biggest yearly advance since 2013.
Market Closing Prices Yesterday
- The S&P 500 Index gained 2.12 points, or 0.08%, to 2,682.62
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 28.09 points, or 0.11%, to 24,774.30
- The Nasdaq Composite climbed 3.09 points, or 0.04%, to 6,939.34
- The Russell 2000 Index slipped -0.29 points, or 0.02% to 1,543.94
Events Calendar for Today
- 8:30 AM EST Weekly Jobless Claims…est. 240K
- 8:30 AM EST Continuing Claims…est. 1.9M
- 8:30 AM EST Advance Goods Trade Balance for November…est. (-$67.9B)
- 8:30 AM EST Wholesale Inventories, Nov-P…est. 0.3%
- 9:45 AM EST Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for December…est. 62.0
- 9:45 AM EST Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index…prior 50.8
- 10:30 AM EST Weekly EIA Natural Gas Inventory Data
- 11:00 AM EST Weekly DOE Inventory Data
- 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, stepping up its attempts to curb widespread investor speculation fueling the market.
- A suicide bomber struck a Shiite Muslim cultural center in the Afghan capital on Thursday, killing at least 35 people and wounding dozens more, authorities said.
- China’s outstanding foreign debt rose 7.5% in the third quarter to $1.68 trillion, the foreign exchange regulator said on Thursday, slowing from a 8.7% rise in the second quarter.
Sector News Breakdown
- Robert Half (RHI) said it sees 27c-31c non-cash charge in 4Q on new tax law; sees one-time non-cash charge to its provision for income taxes in an estimated amount of $34M-$38M in 4Q; charge results solely from revaluation of estimated deferred income tax net assets as of Dec. 31
- Drive Shack (DS) files $1B mixed securities shelf
- The American Petroleum Institute (API) showed that U.S. crude supplies declined by 6 million barrels for the latest week; but API data also showed a gain of 3.1 million barrels in gasoline stockpiles, while inventories of distillates rose by 2.8 million barrels
- Vestas says it has received an order for 20 MW of 2 MW platform compatible turbine components from an undisclosed customer.
- Digirad Corp (DRAD) announced that it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement with Philips North America to sell its Medical Device Sales and Service. or MDSS, business unit service contracts; total consideration under the Agreement is $8M
Industrials & Materials
- Revolution Lighting (RVLT) 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; expects to report adjusted EBITDA of break even and positive cash flow of $4-$5M in Q4
- Chinese auto maker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. has made its priciest overseas play to date by acquiring a $3.24 billion stake in Swedish truck-and-bus maker Volvo AB https://goo.gl/9VqifV
- Mill processing operations shutdown at Royal Gold (RGLD) Mount Milligan mine in British Columbia is likely to be reflected in Royal Gold’s mid-calendar 2018 results.
Technology, Media & Telecom
- Nintendo Co. (NTDOY) told outside game developers it is delaying delivery of 64-gigabyte game cards for its Switch console until 2019, meaning gamers may have to wait longer for some data-rich software titles https://goo.gl/1bqpge
- Roku Inc. (ROKU) announced Wednesday that the head of its advertising business, Scott Rosenberg, will be promoted to lead the company’s platform efforts
- Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN), which currently sell products in Saudi Arabia through third parties, are in licensing talks with Riyadh on investing in the region to set up a direct presence, Reuters reports
- Walt Disney’s (DIS) Disneyland was back to full operation following a power outage that lasted several hours and disrupted popular attractions during one of the busiest weeks of the year
- The potential risks of playing too many video games have been debated since arcades, home consoles and computers began going mainstream in the 1970s and 80s. But the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed this week that it is labeling “gaming disorder” as a mental health condition for the first time