Stock Market Futures Edge Lower Ahead Of Consumer Sentiment Readings
U.S. stock futures are in the red going into Friday this trading week. For the most part, this comes after a broad-based rally across the three major indexes. Even with President Joe Biden meeting with NATO allies in Europe amidst the ongoing war, stocks continue to be volatile. At the same time, investors also have an increasingly hawkish Federal Reserve to consider as well.
Providing some insight regarding this is Ross Mayfield, an investment strategy analyst over at Baird. Mayfield highlights, “We remain pretty bullish on the market overall but I do think that volatility is here to stay.” He continues, “As far as catalysts, there’s a lot of stuff out there. There’s war in Ukraine. The market’s not moving as much on the day-to-day headlines there, but it doesn’t mean that there still couldn’t be a major catalyst from that event, either to the upside or the downside.” Nevertheless, there remains plenty of stock market news keeping investors on their toes today as well. As of 5:31 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading lower by 0.04%, 0.06%, and 0.13% respectively.
Marijuana Stocks Coming In Blazing Hot As Legislative Talks Roll Round Again
Pot stocks seem to be on a roll this week as the industry goes from strength to strength. Evidently, some of the biggest names in the space are gaining by over 15% this week. This includes the likes of Sundial Growers (NASDAQ: SNDL) and Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY). For starters, the biggest piece of news driving growth in the sector today is from the legislative end. In other words, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the federal legalization of marijuana next week. This would be the second time in history where this is happening.
In detail, the House will be considering the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act. The likes of which will be sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. Previously, the bill successfully cleared the House floor in December 2020, after which it was halted in the Senate. Like before, the bill aims to delist cannabis as a federally controlled substance. Furthermore, it also plans to promote social equity throughout the industry. As you can imagine, the mere mention of federal legalization again would have investors focusing on the sector now.
At the same time, marijuana firms continue to grow their operations across the board as well. Namely, both Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQ: ACB) and Cresco Labs (OTCMKTS: CRLBF) made massive acquisition plays this week. Firstly, Aurora is acquiring Thrive Cannabis via a $38 million initial consideration in a cash and stock deal. Secondly, Cresco Labs is buying out Columbia Care through a $2 billion transaction. As a result of the deal, Cresco Labs would be among the top producers of cannabis products in the U.S. With all this in mind, it would not surprise me to see investors eyeing weed stocks today.
ExxonMobil Looks To Turn Gas Into Cryptocurrency
Elsewhere, oil giant ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) is making a play on the crypto craze now. In detail, the company is currently running a pilot program where it converts natural gas towards mining cryptocurrency. How Exxon achieves this is by using excess natural gas from its North Dakota oil wells to power cryptocurrency mining rigs. Through its current team up with Crusoe Energy Systems, Exxon is also doing this via its Bakken shale to power mobile generators.
Moving forward, the company is planning to expand this program to its operations worldwide. In particular, it is considering similar pilots in Nigeria, Alaska, Guyana, Germany, and Argentina. Ideally, this arrangement would serve to further optimize Exxon’s operations while possibly providing another stream of revenue. In a time when oil supplies continue to run short, this would provide investors with another reason to watch XOM stock.
Freeport-McMoRan Soars To Record Highs As Commodity Prices Rise; Jefferies Raises Price Target
Speaking of rising supply costs, Freeport McMoRan (NYSE: FCX) is also in focus as the prices of metals increase. For those uninitiated, FCX is a leading international mining company that boasts a wide array of geographical assets. Among the core metals it mines are copper, gold, and molybdenum. With FCX being the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer, it would stand to benefit from rising copper costs.
Worth mentioning, FCX stock seems to be trading towards newer heights now because of this. The company’s shares have and continue to see steady gains in recent weeks following the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Further supporting this is Jefferies (NYSE: JEF) analyst Chris LaFemina. He argues that Freeport is “still underappreciated, still under-owned,” in a recent note to clients. Because of this, the analyst is maintaining a Buy rating on it while raising his price target to $65 from $58.
On top of that, LaFemina also notes that FCX is “in a strong competitive position in the midst of an earnings upgrade cycle that will take years to play out. The company has a clear path to grow its cash flow and capital returns, and can create additional shareholder value by developing its unique organic growth pipeline.” After considering all this, I could see FCX stock turning heads in the stock market today.
Meta Introduces Three-Dimensional Digital Ads Via Partnership With VNTANA
[Read More] Top Dividend Stocks To Buy Today? 5 In Focus
On the tech news front, Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: FB) is making a splash now. This would be thanks to the company’s latest update regarding its advertising business. Notably, Meta is teaming up with VNTANA, a 3D commerce platform that specializes in digital ads. Through its proprietary 3D optimization tech, the company enables businesses to deploy immersive online commercial experiences. With VNTANA, brands of varying sizes can adapt and automatically scale 3D assets to meet their advertising needs.
More importantly, Meta is leveraging the current partnership to facilitate 3D ads on its Facebook and Instagram social media platforms. Through this, merchants across its marketplace ecosystem can now upload 3D models of their products, easily converting them into ads. According to VNTANA CEO Ashley Crowder, this marks a crucial step forward for advertising in the metaverse.
For one thing, this deal would not be a first for Meta. Even now, the company is already working with augmented reality (AR) firms like Modiface and PerfectCorp to run 3D beauty and cosmetic brand ads in AR. All in all, Meta seems keen to lead the charge into the metaverse in terms of advertising as well. As such, investors looking out for metaverse stocks could be tuning in to FB stock now.