Stock futures are little changed as Wall Street narrows focus

Stock futures are slightly lower as investors await more inflation data: Live updates –

2 hours ago

China's December exports beat expectations, but overall trade declines in 2023

China's exports rose more than expected in December but failed to offset the overall decline in 2023, customs data showed on Friday.

Exports rose 2.3% year-on-year in U.S. dollars last month, more than the 1.7% rise forecast in a Portal poll. Imports rose 0.2% in December from a year earlier in U.S. dollars, slightly less than the 0.3% increase expected in the Portal poll.

For all of 2023, exports fell 4.6%, while imports fell 5.5%, according to customs data.

Read the whole story here.

—Evelyn Cheng

7 minutes ago

Shares of Uniqlo parent company rose nearly 7% after first-quarter results beat expectations

Shares of Japanese retail holding company Fast Retailing rose nearly 7% after the company reported better-than-expected first-quarter results. The company's first fiscal quarter runs from September to November 2023.

The company is the largest stock in the Nikkei 225 index, accounting for 10.45% of its weighting.

Fast Retailing's most important subsidiary is the clothing chain Uniqlo, but it also has other brands in its range, such as the leisure fashion discounter GU.

In an earnings release, the company said it reported net profit of 107.80 billion yen ($739.57 million), up 26.7% from the same period last year. Total sales rose 13.2% year-on-year to 810.83 billion yen, mainly due to higher sales at Uniqlo.

3 hours ago

China's CPI falls less than expected, stocks reverse losses

Stocks in mainland China and Hong Kong erased losses after China's consumer price index posted a weaker-than-expected decline in December.

The Hang Seng index rose 0.32% while the CSI 300 gained 0.21% after both opened in negative territory.

The country recorded an inflation rate of -0.3%, compared with -0.5% in November, and also a weaker decline compared to the 0.4% expected in a Portal poll.

China's producer price index – which measures the change in prices of goods sold by manufacturers – fell 2.7% year-on-year, weaker than November's 3% decline.

—Lim Hui Jie

4 hours ago

Oil rises over 2% after US and UK attacks on Houthi rebels in Yemen

Oil prices rose after Britain and the United States carried out military strikes against targets in Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, US officials said, while tensions rose in the Red Sea.

Global benchmark Brent rose 1.87% to $78.90 a barrel in Asia on Friday, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures climbed 2.05% to $73.49 a barrel.

“These targeted attacks send a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to threaten freedom of navigation on one of the world's most important trade routes,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement Thursday evening.

-Lee Ying Shan

6 hours ago

The Dow and S&P 500 hit new highs, even as the major averages closed little changed

The three major averages ended the day almost unchanged, but still managed to hit some milestones during the trading session.

The Dow hit a new intraday all-time high, jumping 0.28% to 37,801.90. The 30-stock index ended the day with a tiny gain of 15.29 points, or 0.04%.

The S&P 500 rose to a 52-week high of 4,798.50 on an intraday basis during the session, up 0.31%. The broad market index ended the day much more subdued, falling 0.07%.

Finally, the Nasdaq Composite managed to survive its fifth consecutive positive session, ending Thursday 0.54 points or 0.004% higher.

—Darla Mercado, Chris Hayes

6 hours ago

Japan's Topix index beats six of the Magnificent 7 stocks in 2024

Japanese stocks – favored by many on Wall Street for 2024 – are having a better year so far than all but one of the “Magnificent 7” stocks in the US, at least as measured in local currency. The Topix index rose 4.92% and the Nikkei 225 rose 4.74% in January, only surpassed by Nvidia with an increase of 10.7%.

In fact, the Topix index has outperformed the S&P 500 over the last 12 months, rising 33.9%, while the S&P 500 recorded a gain of 22.5% over the same period, again in local currency.

GMO, the Boston-based asset manager founded by value investor Jeremy Grantham, wrote in a recent report: “Supportive headlines about shareholder-friendly policymakers' initiatives and corporate earnings growth pushed stocks higher.”

“We believe Japan is undergoing lasting fundamental improvements and a lasting shift in attitudes toward shareholders,” wrote GMO analysts Drew Edwards and John Thorndike. Additionally, foreign investors are likely to further benefit from currency effects if, as GMO expects, “the yen slowly returns to fair value, USD-based investors are likely to see a 4% tailwind.”

See grafic…

Nikkei 225 index of Japanese stocks for the last 12 months.

6 hours ago

Important indices are facing winning weeks

Despite the small move on Thursday, the three major indexes are on track to end the week higher with just one trading session left.

The Dow is up 0.7% since the start of the week, while the S&P 500 has gained 1.8%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite performed better, rising 3.1%.

—Alex Harring

6 hours ago

What inflation? The odds of Fed rate cuts in March, May and June rose today on the CME

The increase in consumer prices was stronger than expected in December. But Wall Street shrugged its shoulders and, in its infinite wisdom, concluded that the Federal Reserve would sooner rather than accelerate expected interest rate cuts later this year.

Based on implied probabilities derived from trading in interest rate futures contracts and calculated using the CME FedWatch tool, the probability of a quarter-point cut in the federal funds rate to 5.00% to 5.25% at the central bank's March meeting increased from less than on Thursday to 70%, 65% on Wednesday and about 62% a week ago.

The probability that interest rates will fall half a percentage point to 4.75% to 5.00% by the end of the next Fed meeting in May rose to nearly 65% ​​on Thursday, compared with 53.4% ​​on Wednesday and just 48.9% a week ago. The probability that interest rates will have fallen by just a quarter point at the end of the May policy meeting decreased to 30.2% from 38.5% on Wednesday and 40.3% last week.

The implicit forecasts for June also became more aggressive. The probability that rates will fall by three-quarters of a percentage point (to 4.5% to 4.75%) rose to 58.9% on Thursday, from 53.2% on Wednesday and 47.2% last week. In fact, the likelihood of interest rates falling by a full percentage point by the end of the June meeting rose to 13.5% on Thursday, from just under 3% the day before.

– Scott Schnipper

6 hours ago

BlackRock's Bitcoin ETF records $1 billion worth of trades in its first day

According to Rachel Aguirre, US head of iShares Product, the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) recorded more than $1 billion worth of trades on its first day.

This is the highest volume of any new Bitcoin fund, trailing only the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which was previously traded over-the-counter and already had more than $28 billion in assets.

“Trade today was very good and very orderly,” Aguirre said.

–Jesse Pound

7 hours ago

Stock futures have barely changed

Stock futures were little changed shortly after 6 p.m. ET. Futures tied to the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were all trading near their zero line.

—Alex Harring