Stock Market Today Mid-Morning Updates

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down by 30 points. This is following the Fed’s December meeting minutes released earlier this week that indicates that officials were likely to speed their asset-purchase tapering and move up the timing of an initial interest rate hike from current near-zero levels. Today, Trade Desk (NASDAQ: TTD) rallied after being upgraded to a Buy rating from Hold at Jefferies. This is based on a number of key catalysts that include conservative consensus estimates and a new partnership with Walmart (NYSE: WMT).

In other news, the CEO of Moderna, Stephane Bancel says that the efficacy of Covid vaccine boosters will likely decline over time. A fourth shot may be needed next fall to increase protection against the virus. Bancel also says that people who have gotten boosters this fall will likely have enough protection to get them through the winter when infections tend to surge as people gather indoors to escape the cold. Also, the Supreme Court today will take up two major Biden administration efforts to bump the country’s Covid vaccination rates, affecting over 80 million people. This includes vaccine mandates for healthcare workers and enforcing a vaccine-or-testing requirement for employers.

Among the Dow Jones leaders, shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) are up by 0.48% on Friday while Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is also up 0.11%. Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Nike (NYSE: NKE) are down 1.70% and 0.55% respectively today.

Shares of electric vehicle (EV) leader Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) are up by 0.81% on Friday. Rival EV companies like Rivian (NASDAQ: RIVN) are down 0.16% today while Lucid Group (NASDAQ: LCID) is up by 3.32%. Chinese EV leaders like Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI) and Xpeng Motors (NYSE: XPEV) are trading higher on Friday.

Dow Jones Today: Weak December Jobs Report

Following the stock market opening on Friday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are trading 0.12%and 0.35% higher respectively while the Dow is down by 0.09%. Among exchange-traded funds, the Nasdaq 100 tracker Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) ticked higher by 0.15% Friday, while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA: SPY) is also up by 0.13%.

Today, the U.S. Labor Department released its December jobs report on Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Investors gained insight into fresh employment data as it provides an update on the extent of labor supply shortages that are still impacting the economy at the end of 2021. Diving in, payrolls rose by 199,000 in December compared to an estimate of 450,000. However, unemployment rates improved to a fresh pandemic-era low at 3.9% vs a consensus estimate of 4.1%.

Despite being lower than consensus estimates, the labor market posted a twelfth consecutive month of jobs growth in December. Average hourly earnings rose more than expected as the U.S. sees its fastest inflation pace in nearly 40 years. Investors are following closely to see if the numbers might impact the Fed’s plans to tighten monetary policy to tamp down price pressures.

The service sector that was one of the hardest hit initially by the pandemic saw muted hiring at the end of December. Leisure and hospitality jobs rose by 53,000 in the last month of the year. Still, some economists warned that a more recent hit to the labor market from the surge of the Omicron variant may not have been captured in this December report.

[Read More] Top Stocks To Buy For 2022? 4 Work-From-Home Stocks In Focus

GME Stock Jumps On Report Of GameStops NFT Marketplace Plans 

While some would consider the meme stock frenzy mostly over, names such as GameStop (NYSE: GME) would beg to differ. This is apparent as GME stock is currently trading higher by 16.53% as of today’s opening bell. For the most part, this is thanks to a news report regarding GameStop’s plans for a non-fungible tokens (NFTs) marketplace. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is looking to establish a digital marketplace specifically for trading NFTs.

Notably, this venture will, in theory, see GameStop working with video game NFTs. As you can imagine this encompasses the buying and selling of NFTs in the form of video game character collectibles. Not to mention, GameStop is also eyeing cryptocurrency partnerships. The likes of which could ideally help develop games and items for the NFT marketplace. 

All in all, this seems to be a strong push by GameStop into the latest consumer trends. If you think about it, collectibles are already a prominent revenue stream for game developers. As such, some would argue that this could be a strategic move by GameStop. This is especially apparent as gaming firms like Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) are considering adding NFTs to their games. With the company making this aggressive push into blockchain-related markets, investors could be eyeing GME stock today.

GME stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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STMicroelectronics Jumps On Upbeat Fourth Quarter Revenue Forecast

In other news, semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectroncis (NYSE: STM) seems to be turning heads in the stock market today. Diving right in, this is likely due to the company’s latest press release. In it, the company provided preliminary revenue figures for its latest quarter. According to STM, its net revenues for the quarter add up to $3.56 billion. For some perspective, this is versus consensus estimates of $3.41 billion. As a result of this, STM stock is currently up by 4.31% as on today’s opening bell.

Commenting on all this is CEO Jean-Marc Chery. He said, “We ended Q421 with net revenues above the outlook range and gross margin at or slightly above the high-end of the outlook range, primarily due to better than anticipated operations in an ongoing dynamic market. Our FY21 revenues reached $12.76 billion, an increase of 24.9% compared to FY20, reflecting a strong performance across all the end markets we address and our engaged customer programs throughout the year”. The company is set to release its official quarterly earnings on January 27.

In essence, STM appears to be riding the current momentum in the broader semiconductor industry. This comes as no surprise seeing as global chip demands continue to surge amidst the ongoing shortages. Moreover, STM’s chips serve crucial roles across booming tech markets such as 5G connectivity, and the Internet of Things. Given all of this, STM stock could be worth knowing in the stock market now.

STM stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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