All three Wall Street indexes were up in pre-market trading, even though new data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose higher-than-expected in the first week of January.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits progressed by 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 230,000 for the week ended Jan. 8, the Labor Department said. A Reuters survey was pointing to 200,000 applications. However, claims remain below their pre-pandemic level.
At the same time, the world is beginning to wonder about the new phase that the pandemic seems to have entered. Is the coronavirus moving from the pandemic stage to the endemic stage? Should we end current restrictions and live with the disease like we do with the flu?. Spain recorded nearly 700,000 infections in seven days and 13.4% of hospital beds used for Covid patients. Last year at the same time, the figures were 115,000 and 13.8% respectively. Based on these statistics, which are accompanied by lower mortality, the Spanish government has called on the EU to initiate a reflection on changing the status of Covid-19. In other countries, this issue is also invading the media space.
For governments and citizens, accepting the disease if it is not too virulent or lethal and if the health system is able to cope may be a form of compromise, in exchange for a return to freedom. For investors, who are currently focused on Jerome Powell's facial expressions and vocabulary, there are other considerations regarding this new chapter of the pandemic. They can project themselves into a post-covid world, where Airlines and Tourism stocks may be more popular than Health. On the other hand, uncertainty is likely to persist until the next wave reassures or scares everyone. However, some may find relief in the fact that financial markets have become capable of evolving in all sorts of environments while maintaining a bullish profile...
Economic highlights of the day:
In the US, weekly jobless claims and producer prices for December are the main indicators today.
The dollar is down to EUR 0.8721, while gold is trading at USD 1,822. Oil retreats slightly after a hot streak, to USD 84.5 for Brent and USD 82.29 for WTI. The yield on 10-year US debt varies little at 1.74% (+1 point). Bitcoin is flirting with USD 44,000.
* Tesla - Elon Musk, the carmaker's chief executive, said on Twitter, without elaborating, that his group was "still working through many challenges with the government" in India, in response to a question about when its electric vehicles would be launched in the country. Tesla shares are down 0.2% in pre-market trading.
* Meta Platforms - The White House said Wednesday it was encouraged by a federal judge's ruling that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's new antitrust complaint against Meta Platforms subsidiary Facebook was admissible. The share price is down 0.2% in pre-market trading.
* Microsoft, Apple - The Windows company has hired Mike Filippo, a top Apple engineer, to design its own server chips, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing sources close to the matter. Separately, Microsoft has halted production of its Xbox One video game console in late 2020 to focus on the Xbox Series X and S models, according to an article in The Verge. Microsoft shares are flat and Apple is down 0.2% in pre-market trading.
* Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) - The Taiwanese chip giant said Thursday it expects its strong growth to accelerate in the coming years due to booming demand for semiconductors. The Wall Street-listed stock is up 4.2% in pre-market trading.
* Snap - The social network's stock is down 3% to $41.48 in premarket trading after Cowen lowered its recommendation on the stock to "in-line with the sector" from "outperform" due to Apple's restrictions on collecting data on its devices.
* Delta Air Lines - The airline gained 2.6% in premarket trading after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue.
* Moderna - The U.S. drugmaker said Wednesday it expects to release data in March from a clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 2 to 5.
* Blackstone - Australian casino operator Crown Resorts said Thursday that its board may support a $6.46 billion takeover offer from U.S. investment fund Blackstone in the absence of a better proposal.
* Exxon Mobil - The U.S. group and its subsidiary Imperial Oil announced on Wednesday their intention to sell up to $1 billion of shale oil and gas assets in Canada.
- AbbVie: BMO Capital raises PT to $153 from $134, keeps Outperform rating
- American International Group: UBS adjusts PT to $68 from $65, maintains Buy rating
- Asos: AlphaValue remains Buy with a price target reduced from GBp 3735 to GBp 3223.
- Block: Jefferies raises PT to $200 from $240, keeps Buy rating
- CF Industries: Berenberg downgrades to hold from buy. PT up 13% to $77
- Dominion Energy: Goldman Sachs downgrades to sell from neutral. PT down 9.2% to $72
- Dow: Mizuho adjusts PT to $65 from $64, keeps Neutral rating
- Exelon: KeyBanc Capital Markets upgrades to overweight from sector weight. PT up 21% to $68
- Halliburton: J.P. Morgan upgrades to overweight from neutral. PT up 17% to $32
- International Flavors & Fragrances: Jefferies reinstated coverage with a recommendation of buy. PT up 23% to $180
- Mears: Jefferies upgrades from hold to buy targeting GBp 275.
- Metlife: UBS adjusts PT to $77 from $74, maintains Buy rating
- Nichols: HSBC downgrades to hold from buy. PT down 2.1% to 1,480 pence
- Northern Trust Corporation: UBS raises PT to $146 from $131, maintains Buy rating
- Prudential Financial: UBS adjusts PT to $114 from $101, maintains Neutral rating
- ResMed: Baird upgrades to outperform from neutral. PT up 23% to $300
- Salesforce.com: Barclays lowers PT to $290 From $348, reiterates Overweight rating
- ServiceNow: Barclays adjusts PT to $680 from $791, Overweight rating kept
- The Bank of New York Mellon: UBS raises PT to $71 from $63, maintains Buy rating
- Wec Energy: Goldman Sachs upgrades to neutral from sell. PT up 3.4% to $99
- Workday: Barclays lowers PT to $318 from $345, maintains Overweight rating