August 15, 2022

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Business is my step

Stocks waffle as investors await stimulus details, Fed decision

3 min read

U.S. equity markets were little changed Wednesday morning as COVID-19 stimulus talks progressed and as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 30128.01 -71.30 -0.24%
SP500 S&P 500 3697.77 +3.15 +0.09%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 12631.525694 +36.47 +0.29%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down around 0.1% a piece in the opening minutes of trading. The Nasdaq Composite briefly hit a fresh record before slipping lower.

Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on coronavirus relief are “getting closer and closer” to a deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said late Tuesday in regards to a bipartisan $908 billion package that is broken up into two parts – a $748 billion bill that includes additional Paycheck Protection Program funding and unemployment benefits, and a $160 billion bill that provides funding for state and local governments and liability protections for businesses.

STOCK BULLS NEED BREATHER AS COVID-19 VACCINE ROLLS OUT

Economic data out Wednesday morning showed retail sales fell 1.1% month-over-month in November, worse than the 0.3% drop that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
WMT WALMART INC. 145.56 -0.01 -0.00%
TGT TARGET CORP. 170.75 -0.70 -0.41%
AMZN AMAZON.COM INC. 3,220.57 +55.45 +1.75%

Looking at stocks, Southwest Airlines Co. said Wednesday that it plans to take delivery of 35 Boeing 737 Max aircraft by the end of 2021 and that plane should rejoin its fleet in March. The company said rising cancellations in December will lead to a cash burn of about $12 million per day in the fourth quarter, up from $10 million to $11 million.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
LUV SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. 45.47 -0.95 -2.05%
BA BOEING COMPANY 227.83 -1.61 -0.70%

In mergers and acquisitions, Canadian cannabis producers Aphria Inc. and Tilray Inc. have agreed to merge their operations, creating a company valued at 5 billion Canadian dollars ($3.9 billion). The new company, which will trade under Tilray’s ticker, will have a 62% ownership by Aphria shareholders, who are paying a 23% premium for Tilray shares.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TLRY TILRAY INC 9.77 +1.90 +24.13%
APHA APHRIA 8.42 +0.30 +3.68%

Elsewhere, gunmaker American Outdoor Brands reported quarterly sales soared 66% from a year as demand for firearms surged as more people spent time enjoying outdoor activities, like hunting, amid the pandemic.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AOUT AMERICAN OUTDOOR BRANDS INC. 17.81 +1.97 +12.44%

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Twitter Inc. was upgraded to “overweight” at J.P. Morgan, which raised its price target to $65 per share from $52, citing strong sustainable growth at U.S. Internet companies. Other companies receiving price-target hikes from J.P. Morgan included Alphabet Inc., Snap Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TWTR TWITTER INC. 54.29 +1.44 +2.72%

Chinese streaming-video company iQiyi Inc.’s shares were sharply lower after the company announced a secondary offering of convertible notes and American depository shares.

The Federal Reserve’s final meeting on interest rates this year will conclude at 2 p.m. ET. Economists are mixed about whether the central bank, which is expected to provide an upbeat outlook on the economy, will tweak its bond-buying program. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped 16 cents to $47.46 per barrel while gold edged up $6.60 to $1,861.90 per ounce.

European markets were mixed with Germany’s DAX 30 up 1.25% and Britain’s FTSE 100 rising 0.53% while France’s CAC 40 fell 0.13%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rallied 0.97%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.26% and China’s Shanghai Composite ticked down 0.01%.

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