Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures are just barely north of fair value this morning, after closing out Thanksgiving week in the black. S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) futures are also muted, despite both benchmarks settling at record closing highs on Friday. Retail stocks continue to be in focus, as Black Friday online sales reportedly reached a record $5 billion — and there is hope for more of the same today, as Cyber Monday kicks off a new flurry of digital deals. Investors will also be eager for clues regarding the Republican tax plan, with a Senate vote on proposed tax changes expected this week. Elsewhere, January-dated oil futures are down 1% at $58.36 per barrel, pulling back ahead of Thursday’s OPEC meeting.
Continue reading for more on today’s market, including:
- The defense stock with cheap options.
- Options traders bet on Wal-Mart stock to hit record highs by Christmas.
- The news that sent “Russia’s Google” soaring to 3-year highs.
- Plus, Lowe’s gets upgraded; Sears’ Christmas offer; and Regeneron’s new drug setback.
5 Things You Need to Know Today
- The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 539,670 call contracts traded in Friday’s shortened session, the lowest amount since July, compared to 335,439 put contracts, the lowest total since early September. The single-session equity put/call ratio jumped to 0.62, while the 21-day moving average remained at 0.63.
- Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) is up 0.5% in electronic trading, after Raymond James upgraded the home improvement stock to “outperform” from “market perform.” LOW stock has added 11% year-to-date, and received multiple price-target hikes in the wake of last week’s earnings report.
- It’s been a rough month for retail giant Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD), which fell to a string of new record lows earlier this month after a subpar earnings report. Today, however, SHLD stock is up 0.5% ahead of the bell, joining in a broader retail-sector boost on the strength of Black Friday sales figures. The department store stock has shed 70% year-over-year.
- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) is down 1.8% in electronic trading, after the drug company reported disappointing trial results from its attempt to combine nevascumab, a vision drug, with its flagship Eylea treatment. Although REGN toasted an earnings beat earlier this month, the stock remains pinned below resistance at its 10-day and 20-day moving averages.
- In addition to early readings on Cyber Monday sales, Wall Street will also hear the latest update on new home sales and the Dallas Fed manufacturing survey today. After the close, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and New York Fed President William Dudley are scheduled to speak. There are no notable earnings reports set for release.
Asian markets ended lower today, led by a 1.4% drop for South Korea’s Kospi after Morgan Stanley downgraded tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics to “equal weight.” China’s Shanghai Composite also tumbled as traders kept a wary eye trained on rising bond yields, giving up 0.9% by the close. Rounding out the regional declines, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng backpedaled 0.6%, and Japan’s Nikkei shed 0.2%.
Stocks in Europe are modestly lower at midday, as the euro gains ground against the U.S. dollar. The political situation in Germany remains a focal point, as Chancellor Angela Merkel appears close to finding common ground with the Social Democrats. At last check, France’s CAC 40 is down 0.4%, London’s FTSE 100 is 0.2% lower, and the German DAX has slipped just 0.04%.
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