Stock Market Today: Stocks Dip Lower As Target Earnings Mute Holiday Retail Outlook

Weaker-than-expected earnings from Target offset improved overnight sentiment, sending stocks lower into the start of the Wednesday session.

U.S. equity futures edged lower Wednesday as a weaker-than-expected reading on retail strength from Target TGT offset market relief following reports that a missile which struck a small town in Poland was likely wasn’t fired from Russia.

The missile, which landed late yesterday in the small Polish village of Przewodow, around 4 miles from the Ukraine border, could have been linked to Ukraine’s air defense system, a U.S. government official told the Associated Press, while President Joe Biden told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali that it was “unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia” but stressed the NATO allies would continue to investigate.

Reports of the rocket last night pared gains on Wall Street, and held down stocks overnight in both Asia and Europe, but with headlines suggesting an easing in tensions, traders shifted out of the U.S. dollar, a typical safe-haven amid geo-political instability, in a move that allowed for modest gains in U.S. equity futures.

The U.S. dollar index was marked 0.25% lower against a basket of its global peers at 106.152 while benchmark 2-year note yields eased to 4.374% in overnight trading while 10-year notes dipped to 3.805%

Stocks are likely to remain focused on retail and consumer strength again today, with earnings from Lowe’s  (LOW) – Get Free Report, Target  (TGT) – Get Free Report and TJX Companies  (TJX) – Get Free Report  following a stronger-than-expected third quarter update from Walmart  (WMT) – Get Free Report yesterday that suggested solid, although by no means spectacular, holiday quarter sentiment.

Target’s muted near-term outlook, however, took the steam out of the sector’s Tuesday rally, as CEO Brian Cornell noted a “meaningful” shift in spending habits linked to what he said was “inflation, rising interest rates and economic uncertainty.”

Looking into the final months of the group’s fiscal year, Target said it sees a low single-digit decline in same store sales over the holiday quarter, with an overall operating margin of 3%, down from 3.9% over the third quarter and 8.4% over the same period last year.

Shares in the group slumped 12% in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $157.55 each.

The Commerce Department will also publish its October reading of retail sales at 8:30 am Eastern time, with analysts expecting a solid gain in the headline reading, powered in part by higher gasoline prices, with a modest decline in the so-called control measure that strips out food, energy, gas and other volatile costs.

Heading into the start of the trading day on Wall Street, futures tied to the S&P 500 are priced for a modest 3 point opening bell dip while those linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a 30 point decline. Futures tied to the tech-focused Nasdaq are looking at a 38 point gain.

In terms of individual stocks, Nvidia  (NVDA) – Get Free Report shares slipped lower ahead of the chipmaker’s third quarter earnings after the closing bell later today, with investors focused on the strength of its data center business to offset weakness in gaming sales.

Lowe’s jumped 2.5% after it posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings, while boosting its full-year profit forecast, as home improvement demand continues to drive the bottom line of the country’s biggest retailers. 

Estee Lauder Companies  (EL) – Get Free Report shares dipped 0.15% after the cosmetics group confirmed a $2.3 billion takeover of luxury brands collection Tom Ford.

Apple  (AAPL) – Get Free Report shares were marked modestly lower following a report that suggested the tech giant will pivot from its reliance on an Asia-centric supply chain and source new chips from a planned factory in Arizona.

In overseas markets, concerns over rising geo-political tensions in Europe, as well as another report on rising Covid infections on China kept stocks in the red, with the MSCI ex-Japan benchmark falling 0.41% into the close of trading.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was marked 0.03% lower, while the pound jumped to 1.1900 against the U.S. dollar, as investors bet on accelerated rate hikes from the Bank of England following data showing inflation surged 11.1% — the fastest in 41 years — over the month of October.

The region-wide Stoxx 600 was marked 0.86% lower in the opening hours of trading in Frankfurt.


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