Stock Market Futures Rise As First Trading Day Of The New Year Commences

Stock market futures are tilting higher in early morning trading as we kick off 2022. Even as investors consider the potential effects of resurging Covid cases, markets continue to press forward. More importantly, economic figures such as the December jobs report and minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s recent policy-setting meeting are on tap this week. Also, even with the current uptrend in markets this morning, the matter of inflation continues to hang over markets.

Commenting on the Fed’s hand in all this is Greg Swanson, a founding partner at investment banking firm Brigg Macadam. Swanson notes, “They are still, by most measures, quite dovish, even with the tapering of bond purchases and the market pricing in three hikes next year, you’ll still have dramatically negative real rates.” He adds, “I wouldn’t call that a hawkish Fed — maybe their tone has changed a little bit and they have definitely stopped using the word ‘transitory,’ they have all but admitted that they missed inflation and underestimated it.”

Nevertheless, there is no shortage of exciting stock market news for investors to digest today. As of 7:28 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading higher by 0.32%, 0.61%, and 0.03% respectively.

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Tesla Posts Record 2021 Delivery Figures

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon on the operational front. Over the weekend, the leading U.S. electric vehicle (EV) firm posted stellar figures in its latest delivery report. Namely, Tesla’s deliveries for the fourth quarter of 2021 add up to a whopping 308,600, a new quarterly record. To point out, this is well above Wall Street’s estimates of 267,000. Furthermore, this brings the company’s full-year deliveries to a massive 936,172 vehicles; well over projections of 897,000. Despite the recent volatility in TSLA stock from CEO Elon Musks’ selling spree, Tesla seems to be pressing forward.

Even after a record-setting quarter, Musk sees major growth ahead for the leading EV company. As it stands, Tesla is looking to grow its annual sales volume to 20 million vehicles through 2030. Notably, among the major steps, it plans to take this year is to begin production of the Tesla Model Y crossover at its Texas facility. In turn, the company is also looking to set up another factory in Brandenburg, Germany. For the most part, some would argue that Tesla is not willing to give up its lead in the EV space just yet. Given all of this, it would not surprise me to see investors eyeing TSLA stock in the stock market this week.

TSLA stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

Chinese EV Firms End 2021 With Strong December Sales

In other EV-related news, the latest delivery figures are also from the top players in the booming Chinese market. As most seasoned automotive investors would know, these are Nio (NYSE: NIO), Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI), and Xpeng (NYSE: XPEV). For starters, Nio’s December deliveries came in at a solid 10,489 vehicles, marking a 49.7% year-over-year increase. This adds up to a total of 91,429 EVs delivered in 2021, more than double year-over-year. Despite NIO stock facing turbulence in recent months, Nio continues to expand its portfolio internationally. With its recent interest in the U.S. market, some might see a buying opportunity here.

Secondly, Li Auto posted record figures in its December deliveries update. In detail, the company fulfilled orders for 14,087 vehicles. This translates to a phenomenal 130% surge from the same quarter last year. Because of this, the company’s quarterly delivery figures are 5,221, marking gains of over 143.5% year-over-year. In the larger scheme of things, Li Auto grew its annual delivery figures by 177% year-over-year as well. All in all, the company remains hard at work refining its offerings and consumers seem to appreciate it. Just last month, the company introduced a major update to its in-car software. This includes a full-stack, self-developed “Navigation on ADAS (NOA)”, providing drivers with safer driving experiences.

Following that, Xpeng is also ushering in the new year with solid delivery figures. In December, it delivered 16,000 units, a 181% year-over-year increase. Additionally, this brings its total delivery count for 2021 up to 98,155. To highlight, this would indicate a humongous 263% year-over-year jump. Given the overall positive momentum across EV companies today, investors could be watching closely.

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Oil Prices Steady As New Year Begins; Possible Omicron Impacts Weighing In On Outlook

Oil prices appear to be on the rise on Monday this week, marking a positive start to 2022. Among the key reasons for this could be suppliers focusing on Tuesday’s OPEC+ meeting. For those uninitiated, the OPEC+ meeting is where the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies convene. However, looking ahead, analysts have lowered their outlooks for 2022 on fears of the Omicron coronavirus variant stifling recovering fuel demand. Not to mention there is also the possibility of an excess in supply as producers pump more oil, according to data from Reuters.

Overall, survey data points towards Brent crude selling at an average of $73.57 a barrel in 2022. This would be about 2% below the consensus of $75.33 back in November last year. Furthermore, the outlook for U.S. crude is also on the decrease at $71.38 per barrel. In comparison, this is versus December’s consensus projections of $73.31.

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Resurgence In Covid Cases Causes More Than 4,000 Flight Cancellations  

Elsewhere, while the New Year rolls round, the coronavirus pandemic remains an issue. This is especially the case for the travel industry. In particular, airlines across the globe appear to be feeling the pressure now as over 4,000 flights were canceled globally over the weekend. According to data from flight-tracking website, more than 2,400 of said flights were either entering, departing from, or within the U.S. Furthermore, SkyWest (NASDAQ: SKYW) and SouthWest (NYSE: LUV) saw the highest cancellations among their peers.

In essence, airlines, similar to most other travel industries, continue to feel the pressure from rising Covid cases. Accordingly, this comes as the average daily confirmed cases in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 258,312 just last week. With this blow to the travel industry at what is usually a peak time, airline operators continue to adapt. Take United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL) for example. As of last Friday, the company is now offering pilots three-and-a-half times pay to commit towards picking up extra flights. All things considered, there could be plenty of attention on the top airline stocks in the stock market today.

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