Stock futures laid low Wednesday, in a premarket session stirred by analyst actions and some early earnings news, ahead of Fed Minutes due out this afternoon.
XAutoplay: On | OffStock Futures Mixed; J&J, PayPal Upgraded, Delta Air Tops ViewsNasdaq 100 futures dipped narrowly into the red, as Apple (AAPL) traded down 0.1% and the FANG stocks were tightly mixed in premarket action. S&P 500 futures also hung below the breakeven line, while futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Russell 2000 each posted very thin gains.
J&J, PayPal Upgraded; Delta, Fastenal Top Views
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) pulled the best early number among Dow stocks, up 0.5% on an upgrade to buy, from hold, from Jefferies & Co. The big medical products brand is working on its second weekly advance off a late-September low, attempting to build the right side of a possible four-month base pattern.
General Electric (GE) dropped 0.8%, the Dow’s hardest early hit. News reports said the company was negotiating a possible takeover of U.K.-based underwater engineering firm Subsea 7SUBCY. The company has a market valuation near $5 billion. GE shares were down 4% for the week at the end of Tuesday’s session, after changes in top management announced at the beginning of the week.
Delta Air Lines (DAL) grabbed an early 2% gain, after reporting third-quarter revenue and earnings comfortably above analyst expectations. Management offered an upbeat outlook and strong momentum, following “the busiest summer travel season in our history.” Delta shares are climbing the right side of a three-month cup base with a 55.85 buy point.
Fastenal (FAST) slid 2% lower after its Q3 results just met expectations, marking the company’s best combined sales and earnings growth in 10 quarters. Gross margins declined 20 basis points. Teh stock has been fighting resistance at its 10-week moving average.
Gas producer Range Resources (RRC) cranked up a 3% gain after Barclays flipped the stock to overweight, from underweight, and lifted its price target to 24 from 18. Range remains deep in a three-year consolidation, but up 23% from an early September low.
PayPal (PYPL) added more than 1% following an upgrade to overweight, from equal weight, from Morgan Stanley. The note also boosted the stock’s price target 23%, to 76, from 62. Paypal shares are extended, ending Tuesday up 20% since a breakout from a flat base in July.
Coming Up: Fed Minutes, JOLTS report
The high point in Wednesday’s economic news is likely to be the release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s September 19-20 meeting, due out at 2 p.m. ET. THe Labor Department releases its Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey at 10 a.m. ET.
Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans was scheduled to speak in Zurich, Switzerland, beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET. President John Williams of the San Francisco Federal Reserve speaks at 2:40 p.m. ET in Salt Lake City.
Asian stock market action showed China’s benchmarks posting a mixed close. In Japan, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 tacked on a 0.3% gain, putting it less than 1% below its prior high, from June 2015.
Markets in Europe were once again mixed as the region copes with political unrest in Spain. Frankfurt’s DAX battled to hold a narrow gain near midday, while London’s FTSE 100 and the CAC-40 in Paris each dropped 0.2%.
Oil prices continued higher, with the U.S. benchmark up 1% to above $51 a barrel.
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