At the start of the new month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is poised to edge higher at the open, and could flirt with the 22,000 mark, as today’s disappointing jobs data — combined with yesterday’s tame inflation numbers — dampen expectations for a December rate hike from the Fed. The nonfarm payrolls report showed 156,000 jobs added last month, compared to the 180,000 expected, and the June and July tallies were also downwardly revised. The unemployment rate increased to 4.4% from 4.3%.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and the Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) are also signaling a positive start, after the former extended its winning streak to five sessions to eke out a monthly win, and the latter notched its highest close on record yesterday.
Continue reading for more on today’s market, including:
- 2 software stocks poised for a September surge.
- 2 Apple suppliers that could be flashing buy.
- How options traders are betting on this Russian ETF amid geopolitical tensions.
- Plus, the DuPont-Dow Chemical merger; Ambarella’s post-earnings downgrade; and the cybersecurity firm ringing in a record number of new customers.
5 Things You Need to Know Today
- The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 769,923 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 439,117 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio remained at 0.57, and the 21-day moving average fell to 0.69.
- The $130 billion merger of E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (NYSE:DD) and Dow Chemical Co (NYSE:DOW) stocks is final as of today, almost a year after the companies first announcing the plan last December. The new company will be begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the name DowDupont and the ticker symbol DWDP.
- Despite reporting better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and revenue, Ambarella Inc (NASDAQ:AMBA) stock is down 13.3% in pre-market trading — to the dismay of recent options traders — after no fewer than four brokerages cut their price targets for AMBA. Craig Hallum issued the biggest slice, to $50 from $68, and also downgraded the GoPro supplier to “hold” from “buy.”
- Shares of Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) are up 8.4% before the bell, and could hit year-to-date highs, after the company reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and quarterly revenue that beat estimates. The software maker also added a record number of new customers. As such, J.P. Morgan Securities upgraded the stock to “overweight” from “neutral,” and raised its price target to $182 from $140. No fewer than four other brokerages followed suit in issuing price-target hikes for PANW.
- Auto sales, the PMI manufacturing index, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing index, construction spending, and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey will all be released today ahead of next week’s Fed speeches.
It was a mixed finish in Asia today, with stocks in Tokyo and Beijing outperforming. China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.2%, after the mainland’s Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) unexpectedly rose to 51.9 in August — a sixth-month high — while Japan’s Nikkei tacked on 0.2% to snap its longest weekly losing streak since 2014. South Korea’s Kospi, meanwhile, shed 0.2%, as the won strengthened following a round of economic reports, including a five-year-high reading on annual inflation, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.06%.
European markets are higher at midday, as mining stocks continued to surge on upbeat data out of China. Media shares are also on the rise, thanks to strong earnings from France-based Vivendi. Traders are also parsing over a fresh batch of PMI data, with the final August reading for the eurozone arrived at 57.4 — in line with expectations — while London’s manufacturing index hit a four-month high of 56.9 last month, stronger than anticipated. At last check, the German DAX and French CAC 40 are both up 0.9%, while U.K.’s FTSE 100 is 0.3% higher.
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