US equity investors appear to be in a cautious mood heading into the holiday-lengthened weekend, with US equity indices positioned to decline ahead of the New York open.
Note: Major markets, including all US financial markets, are set to close on Friday in observance of Good Friday, with exchanges across Europe scheduled to remain closed on Monday also.
Ahead of the open, weighing on marginally optimistic signals from trade talks and a decent start to the earnings season are new reports of North Korean weapons testing and weaker-than-expected European data, which helped dampen risk appetite into the early hours of the morning.
Overseas in Europe, equities struggled to add to recent gains, after a new round of business surveys suggested that the region’s manufacturing sector is still struggling to emerge from a slowdown recorded during the last six months.
Stateside, these declines look to extend onto Wednesday’s losses, where the US Healthcare sector (-2.88%) came under fire, for a second consecutive day, weighing on sentiment that had been otherwise supported by a largely positive start to earning season, after UnitedHealth’s (UNH: -1.86%) chief executive said on Tuesday, during the company’s earnings call, that proposals like “Medicare for all” could “destabilize the nation’s healthcare system and limit the ability of clinicians to practice medicine at their best”.
The session saw Wall Street’s S&P 500 end -0.24% lower, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended flat, 0.00%, and the Nasdaq Composite ended with gains of +0.35%.
Moving forward, in today’s economic calendar, Thursday includes; Weekly Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Manufacturing Index data for April and Retail Sales for March at 8:30am EST, followed by Manufacturing and Services PMI figures at 9:45am EST.
Among the companies scheduled to report their Q1 2019 earnings today, are; Schlumberger (SLB), Honeywell International (HON), BB&T (BBT), American Express (AXP), Travelers Cos. (TRV), Philip Morris (PM), Danaher (DHR) and Union Pacific (UNP).
TODAY’S TOP HEADLINES:
North Korea: North Korea Says It Test-Fired New Tactical Guided Weapon. (The WSJ) North Korea test-fired a new type of tactical guided weapon at different targets, marking “an event of very weighty significance,” the country’s state media reported, as the Kim regime signals a firmer stance toward the US following the breakdown of denuclearization talks.
IPO: Pinterest prices IPO at $19, valuing social media company at $10 billion. (CNBC) Pinterest raised $1.43 billion in its IPO after pricing the offering at $19 a share on Wednesday, valuing the company at $10 billion.
EU & Trade: US handbags, helicopters and hazelnuts all put on $20 billion EU tariff list after Boeing ruling. (CNBC) Helicopters, handbags and hazelnuts are among the US goods facing EU tariffs, after the European bloc hit back against US subsidies of Boeing aircraft.
ECONOMIC CALENDAR: Today’s Economical Announcements.
08:30AM – ★☆☆ – Weekly Jobless Claims (Previous: 196,000) 08:30AM – ★★★ – Phily Fed Manuf. Index (Apr) (Previous: 13.7) 08:30AM – ★★★ – C. Retail Sales (MoM) (Mar) (Previous: -0.4%) 08:30AM – ★★★ – Retail Sales (MoM) (Mar) (Previous: -0.2%) 09:45AM – ★★☆ – Manufacturing PMI (Apr) (Previous: 52.4) 09:45AM – ★★☆ – Services PMI (Apr) (Previous: 55.3)
STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks.
Pier 1 Imports (PIR): [EARNINGS] Reported a bigger-than-expected loss during its fiscal fourth quarter, as well as lower than expected revenue and a 13.7 percent decline in same-store sales. Additionally, Chief Financial Officer Nancy Walsh is leaving the home furnishings retailer after being in that job for less than a year.
Blackstone (BX): [NEWS] The private-equity firm announced it would shift from a partnership to a corporate structure.
Canopy Growth (CGC): [NEWS] Canopy Growth s near a deal to buy rival cannabis producer Acreage Holdings, according to CNBC.
Las Vegas Sands (LVS): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of 91 cents per share, beating estimates by 4 cents a share. Revenue came in above forecasts. The company’s results were helped by strong growth in Macau, the world’s largest gambling market.
E*Trade Financial (ETFC): [EARNINGS] Earned $1.09 per share for its latest quarter, beating the consensus estimate of 93 cents a share. Reported 135,000 new accounts during the quarter, a 41% jump in new account adds compared to the same quarter a year earlier.
BB&T (BBT), SunTrust (STI): [EARNINGS] The two banks, which announced plans to merge earlier this year, both beat Wall Street estimates with their first quarter earnings.
Honeywell (HON): [EARNINGS] Earned $1.92 per share for the first quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.83 a share. Revenue beat estimates, with Honeywell seeing strong demand for its aerospace products. The company also raised its full-year forecast.
American Express (AXP): [EARNINGS] Earned an adjusted $2.01 per share for the first quarter, 2 cents a share above estimates. Revenue came in below forecasts, however. American Express also reiterated its 2019 guidance.
Travelers (TRV): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of $2.83 per share, 9 cents a share above estimates. Revenue slightly below forecasts. Travelers benefited from better underwriting results and lower catastrophe losses. The company also raised its dividend by 5 cents to 82 cents per share.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM): [NEWS] Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake is leaving that job to lead the bank’s consumer lending unit, while JPM’s current card services CEO Jennifer Piepszak will step into the CFO role.
Facebook (FB): [NEWS] Facebook said it may have “unintentionally uploaded” email contacts of 1.5 million new users since May 2016. Facebook said the contacts were not shared with anyone and are being deleted, and affected users are being notified.
Tesla (TSLA): [NEWS] Funds operated by T. Rowe Price slashed their holdings in Tesla during the first quarter, according to data from Refinitiv. The funds sold off 92% of their stock in the automaker during the quarter.
GAINERS: QCOM, MTOR, UAL, KSU, OMC DECLINERS: EHTH, IONS, THC, TNDM, BK, ACAD, INSM, ALXN, HCA
Pinterest (PINS) (Price: 19) (Est. Vol: $1.425B) Zoom Video Communications (ZM) (Price: 36) (Est. Vol: $751.3M) Brigham Minerals (MNRL) (Price: 18) (Est. Vol: $222.8M) Greenlane Holdings (GNLN) (Price: 17) (Est. Vol: $106.0M) HOOKIPA Pharma (HOOK) (Price: 14) (Est. Vol: $84.0M)