Stock Market Futures Edge Lower Ahead Of Key Economic Data Releases
U.S. stock futures are on the decline in early morning trading on Tuesday this week. As investors return from their 4th of July celebrations, they are looking at another jam-packed week in the stock market. Overall, this would be thanks to two key pieces of economic data being released this week. To begin with, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will be reporting the nonfarm payrolls for June 2022. For now, the current consensus among Dow Jones economists is a 250,000 increase. While this would mark a deceleration from May’s 390,000 jobs added, it still represents commendable growth amidst mentions of recession.
Furthermore, as the Federal Reserve continues to tighten its economic policies, a slow down in employment would not be too surprising. This would be the case as both employers and the economy feel the pinch from rising costs. Another market mover to keep an eye out for is the Fed meeting minutes due Wednesday afternoon. The likes of which would be from the Fed’s June meeting where an interest rate hike of 0.75% took place.
Speaking about the current lineup of economic prints this week is Sam Stovall, the chief investment strategist at CFRA. He argues, “If the employment data is strong, and the Fed officials on paper sound as hawkish as they do verbally, I would think that would continue to put pressure on the market.” While taking all this in, here is how the major U.S. stock futures are doing now. As of 4:44 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading lower by 0.41%, 0.43, and 0.53% respectively.
Warren Buffett Loads Up On Another Round Of Occidental Petroleum Stock
Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) could once again be in the spotlight in the stock market now. Accordingly, this could stem from yet another share purchase from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A). Simply put, Berkshire, through an SEC filing last week, revealed that it purchased an additional 9.9 million shares of Occidental Petroleum. According to the disclosure document, the cost of these shares is about $584 million at an average price of $58.98. Also, Berkshire’s transactions span from Wednesday through Friday last week. Overall, Buffett’s firm now owns 163.4 million Occidental shares.
In essence, Berkshire now owns a 17.4% stake in the oil company, further solidifying its position as the largest stakeholder. For those that have not been keeping up with Buffett’s interest in OXY stock, here’s a brief history. Starting in the first quarter of 2022, Berkshire’s total purchases of OXY stock add up to a total of about $7 billion. Over a two-week period, Buffett notes that his firm acquired a 14% stake in the company. Since then, Berkshire has and continues to grow its position in Occidental. Even after its latest purchase, the firm still has options to purchase another 83.9 million shares. Should it decide to do so, Berkshire would have a stake of over 25%. Safe to say, this would put OXY stock on investors’ radars in the stock market this week.
Oil Futures Gain As Worker Strike In Norway Emerges And Growing Recession Risks Loom
Speaking of oil prices, Brent crude futures are gaining in the early hours today. In detail, Brent futures hit a high of $114.32 per barrel, marking a 0.7% or $0.82 increase. Notably, this is on top of a 2.4% jump on Monday. Among the possible reasons for this movement could be due to an ongoing strike in Norway. The strike, according to Reuters, is likely to impact oil and gas output, further tightening global supplies.
Meanwhile, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped by 2.4% to $111.01 a barrel since Friday’s close as well. Because of the 4th of July holiday, the settlement for West Texas Intermediate crude was not available on Monday. Regarding the strike in Norway, local offshore workers are initiating a strike as of earlier today. According to current estimates, the strike could cut oil and gas output in the region by 89,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd). From which gas output adds up to about 27,500 boepd.
Providing an overview of all this is SPI Asset Management’s head of trading and market strategy, Stephen Innes. He writes, “Oil is still struggling to break out from its current recessionary malaise as the market pivots away from inflation to economic despair.” As a result, some of the top oil stocks around could become more appealing to investors today.
[Read More] Top Stocks To Buy Now? 3 Oil Stocks In Focus
U.S. Flight Disruption On The Decline As Airlines Adapt Operations To Meet Growing Demand
In other news, airline operators such as Delta (NYSE: DAL) and American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL), among other airline operators, seem to be adapting to shifting travel demands accordingly. Namely, according to data from flight-tracking platform FlightAware, U.S. airline delays are decreasing. To be precise, data from the 4th of July records 1,200 delays and 183 cancellations across U.S. flights. In fact, this is versus 4,700 delays and over 300 cancellations from the day before.
For one thing, the efforts from leading airlines like Delta and American continue to show results. To highlight, Delta customers had the option to change their flights outside of the peak July 1-4 period. For travelers willing to fly through July 8, they could do so without paying a difference in ticket prices. At the same time, American-owned Envoy Air is offering triple pay to pilots picking up extra shifts this month. Ideally, all this could build up investor anticipation for airline earnings reports later this month. As such, DAL stock and AAL stock could be among the key names to watch in the stock market this month.
Paramount’s Top Gun Cruising To The Top On Box Office Sales
In other news, Paramount’s (NASDAQ: PARAA) latest blockbuster movie Top Gun: Maverick (TGM) seems to be making waves at the box offices. On the whole, this is apparent as the company is now the top movie distributor in dollar terms for 2022 so far thanks to the movie. With Tom Cruise at the forefront of this nostalgia-inducing sequel, Paramount appears to be giving moviegoers what they want. Evidently, TGM is the only movie to cross $1 billion in domestic grosses in 2022. Additionally, the movie is also raking in revenue in international markets as well with gross ticket sales of over $1 billion worldwide. This marks a first for a Tom Cruise movie.
For the most part, Paramount would have the steady return of moviegoers worldwide to thank for this. Nevertheless, this remains an impressive feat seeing as it is competing with the likes of Disney (NYSE: DIS) and Sony (NYSE: SONY). With TGM marking the 8th movie from Paramount this year, the firm, according to industry estimates, has a 25.7% share of the film market. The main question now would be whether Paramount can maintain this performance in the second half of 2022. With all this in mind, it’s likely that PARAA stock would be in focus right now.