Stock Market Futures Dip Further Ahead Of March Consumer Price Index Readings
U.S. stock futures are on the decline in early morning trading on Tuesday. In general, the current direction in markets is indicative of overall investors sentiment. After all, the current outlook regarding inflation, the economy, and the Federal Reserve’s policy plans is less-than-ideal. In fact, investors are likely expecting the March Consumer Price Index (CPI) release to further worsen the current situation. Ahead of the CPI release, consensus economists are already expecting a year-over-year gain of 8.5%. This would be its fastest acceleration since the 80s. All of this has and continues to stir mentions of a possible recession.
Providing an overview of the current state of things is Deutsche Bank’s (NYSE: DB) chief U.S. economist, Matthew Luzzetti. He posits, “While timing the exact quarters of negative growth is never easy, we see the Fed’s tightening beginning to materially slow growth in the second half of 2023. Our baseline forecast has negative quarters for growth in Q4 2023 and Q1 2024, consistent with a recession during that time. The mild recession we anticipate should nonetheless lead to a meaningful rise in unemployment, which peaks above 5% in 2024.” While investors look to digest all this information, there is no shortage of stock market news to consider as well. As of 5:20 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading lower by 0.12%, 0.10%, and 0.02% respectively.
Honda Plans To Invest $64 Billion Towards EV R&D Efforts
Honda (NYSE: HMC) is among the legacy automakers doubling down on its electric vehicle (EV) efforts. Namely, as of today, the company is planning to spend about $63.8 billion on the research and development (R&D) of EVs. It aims to do so over the next decade, ultimately launching over 30 EV models worldwide by 2030. Worth mentioning, a majority of this investment will go towards funding the appropriate electrification and software tech. This information comes directly from Honda earlier today. Seeing as it is among the largest car manufacturers in the world, this would be a notable move in the industry overall. In general, it would mark a massive push for the Japanese auto firm as its European and U.S. peers continue to thrive.
Furthermore, alongside this massive investment, Honda is also aiming high for its EV production goals. Notably, the company is expecting its EV manufacturing output to hit 2 million units per year by 2030. Among the core areas of focus, Honda will be allocating about $343 million towards a demonstration line that serves to produce solid-state batteries. Should things go according to plan, Honda expects the tech to be operational by early 2024. As the shift towards an all-electric automotive age continues, top automotive stocks such as HMC stock would be in focus.
Meta Platforms Working On Monetization Solutions For The Metaverse
At the same time, Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: FB) remains hard at work building its metaverse-centric business. For today, its latest efforts revolve around testing monetization tools in the space. In detail, Meta is now testing out new creator tools that help content creators monetize their metaverse content. As it stands, select creators now have test access to these tools that facilitate the sale of virtual items and effects. All of which will be available in Meta’s Horizon Worlds free-to-access virtual reality platform. According to the company, “someone could make and sell attachable accessories for a fashion world or offer paid access to a new part of a world.”
Providing an overview of all this is Meta. The company writes, “The metaverse — by nature of its not being limited by physical space — will bring a new level of creativity and open up new opportunities for the next generation of creators and businesses to pursue their passions and create livelihoods.” Pair this with the current dips in Big Tech, FB stock could be worth considering in the stock market today.
Pfizer Brings On David Denton As CFO; What This Could Mean For Its Growth Strategy
Meanwhile, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) is shaking things up on the executive front. Diving in, the company appointed David Denton as its newest CFO and Executive VP effective May 2, 2022. While new board appointments are part and parcel of every organization, some are arguing that Denton’s arrival signals a shift in Pfizer’s growth strategy. Before going into the details, Denton is coming over to Pfizer from his CFO position in Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW). More importantly, his previous employment at CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is likely the reason why Pfizer is coming into focus today.
To explain, Denton played a massive part in CVS’s business transition from retail pharmacy to a leading health solutions firm. For the most part, this is through the $69 billion acquisition of health insurance titan Aetna which Denton was responsible for leading at the time. Ideally, all this on top of his over 25 years of finance and operational expertise could suggest that Pfizer is looking to make the most of its coronavirus vaccine gains. According to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, “he is the perfect leader to take the helm of our talented finance organization and deliver a comprehensive strategic financial vision that will help drive Pfizer’s future growth and success.” Following this key development, long-term investors could be adding PFE stock to their watchlists now.
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Ford Lands Lithium Supply Agreement With Lake Resources In Argentina
In other automotive industry-related news, Ford (NYSE: F) is now working with Lake Resources (OTCMKTS: LLKKF). Through a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Ford now has a lithium supply deal with the lithium mining firm. In particular, Ford will be receiving its lithium from Lake Resources’ facility in Argentina. This would mark the first time Ford has officially revealed a means of procuring this crucial EV battery metal.
Additionally, Ford is also relying on the mining company’s usage of direct lithium extraction (DLE) in the current deal. In brief, DLE is a newer iteration of today’s lithium extraction tech. It is one that numerous EV firms are already betting on for their lithium supplies. This includes the likes of General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Stellantis (NYSE: STLA) to name a few. Going into the specifics, Ford is planning to purchase 25,000 tonnes of lithium from Lake Resources’ Kachi project in Argentina. According to Ford spokesperson Jennifer Flake, the move serves to support its “aggressive EV acceleration plan.” With this in mind, I could see F stock gaining some attention at today’s opening bell.