The last trading week in January is off to a mixed start as investors await a number of potentially significant economic and earnings developments due in the coming days. US index futures are mixed with NASDAQ futures up 0.8% and Dow futures down 0.5%. Overseas, European markets are under pressure with London, Frankfurt, Milan and Paris all dropping 1.1%-1.7%. Asia Pacific markets, on the other hand, were up sharply overnight led by gains of 2.4% for Hong Kong, 2.1% for Seoul and 0.7% for Tokyo. Energy and metals markets are mixed today Natural gas is on the rebound with a 3.3% gain, while WTI crude oil is flat. Copper is down 0.2%, while gold and silver are up slightly. Currencies and bonds are quiet today.
Although it’s a light day for corporate and economic news, there have been some explosive pre-market rallies in stocks that had been laggards until recently such as Blackberry up 39.5%, Gamestop up 48.6%, both continuing rallies from last week. AMC Entertainment (movie theatres) is up 36.7% premarket after raising $917 million in new debt and equity financing to keep the company afloat.
The first half of this week is very quiet for economic news but the back half gets busier. This week’s main event is Wednesday’s Fed meeting and monetary policy decision. No changes in interest rates or asset purchases are expected at this time, but investors may look to the statement and press conference for hints on whether the Fed is more focused on short-term lockdown slowdown risks/support, or longer-term recovery potential, how committed the central bank is to providing more stimulus if needed and how closely the Fed’s intentions align with the incoming Biden Administration, particularly Treasury Secretary Yellen, a former Fed Chair.
Today is relatively quiet for earnings but the rest of the week makes up for it in what feels like two weeks of big cap reports crammed into four days. US headliners this week come from Energy, Technology, Industrials, and Consumer sectors such as: Microsoft and General Electric on Tuesday, Apple, Boeing, Facebook and Tesla on Wednesday, Visa, Mastercard and McDonalds on Thursday, wrapping up with Chevron and Caterpillar on Friday. Earnings season also kicks off in Canada this week led by Canadian National Railway on Tuesday, Canadian Pacific Railway on Wednesday, and Rogers Communications on Thursday