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Premarket Mixed, Wal-Mart Paces Dow; This Big Chip Name In Buy Range | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Premarket trade on Thursday showed stock futures sticking close to Wednesday’s closing levels, as analyst actions and earnings news factored into early action.

XFutures for the Dow Jones industrial average trended a bit more than 0.1% above fair value, with Wal-Mart (WMT) doing much of the early, heavy lifting. S&P 500 and Russell 200 futures held tight gains.

Nasdaq 100 futures struggled against narrow early losses, despite moderate premarket advances from Apple (AAPL) and the four FANG stock tech leaders. Security software developer Symantec (SYMC) dropped 3.3% to the bottom of the index, following a downgrade to underperform, from hold, by Jefferies.

Global markets were a mixed influence, with leading benchmarks across both Asia and Europe trading up and down on Thursday. Markets had an eye on Washington, where federal lawmakers remained at loggerheads over a budget agreement ahead of a deadline that would shut down all non-essential government offices Friday at midnight. A stop-gap spending measure that would temporarily fund the government through Feb. 15 is set for a house vote today, though early news reports declared Republicans did not have enough support to pass the measure.

Wal-Mart, Apple, Taiwan Semi In Buy Ranges

Wal-Mart was the early powerhouse among Blue Chips, up 1.8% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to buy, from neutral, and added the name to its Americas Conviction List. Goldman sees both Wal-Mart and the general retail environment as benefiting from recent federal tax reforms.  And the retailer remains “still very much in control of its own destiny,” Goldman’s note said, despite online disruptions to traditional retail business models.

Wal-Mart shares ended Wednesday in a buy range, above a 100.23 buy point in a second-stage flat base.

Apple added 0.2% and will be closely watched today, after making its most decisive move to date above a 176.34 buy point on Wednesday.  Shares received a boost after the company said it would make $38 billion in repatriation tax payments, implying plans to ship home its $252 billion in overseas cash. The company also announced plans to contribute $350 billion to the U.S. economy over the next 5 years and add 20,000 new U.S. workers, among other measures. The stock has been attempting to clear and hold above the current buy point since mid-December.

Earnings results were rolling in, with Morgan Stanley (MS), Signature Bank of New York (SBNY) and PPG Industries (PPG) all trading higher after early reports.

Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) climbed 1.5% ahead of the open. The chip foundry reported fourth-quarter revenue and earnings above analysts targets, but provided Q1 revenue guidance below consensus views. The stock remained in buy range, after clearing a 42.67 buy point in a cup-with-handle base on Wednesday, in modest trade.

Alcoa (AA) fell hard, down almost 7% after missing both revenue and earnings estimates in its fourth-quarter report delivered late Wednesday. Draught in Brazil and price inflation in Spain cut into the quarter’s performance, the company said.  Shares were trading near a new high Wednesday, up 13% after a late-December breakout.

Coming Up: December Housing Starts, January Philly Fed Survey

Economic news kicks off with December housing starts, weekly unemployment claims and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s regional manufacturing survey, all at 8:30 a.m. ET.

IBM (IBM), Canadian Pacific (CP) and American Express (AXP) are among the companies expected to report after today’s close.

Other Important Early Market News For Thursday:

IBM, American Express, Atlassian Lead Investing Action Plan

The Big Picture: 5 Signs Why This Market Rally May Heat Up In 2018

Apple To Use Foreign Profits To Fund U.S. Jobs, Manufacturing

Bulls Will Sometimes Trample A Bearish Signal; Are We There Now?

Looking For The Next Nvidia? Start With This Simple Routine

 

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