Stock Market Futures Advance Further After Tech Rally

Stock market futures are extending gains from the previous day’s session in early morning trading on Wednesday. Investor optimism seems to be holding strong as worries over the severity of the new Omicron Covid variant continue to lessen. At the same time, there is also an ongoing focus on the Federal Reserve’s tapering plans. Given the current mix of factors weighing in on the stock market today, investors could be looking toward the reopening trade now.

Explaining this is Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual. “Economic growth is going to be strong. Certainly, the Omicron variant could possibly push some of that out, but it won’t eliminate it given the underlying fundamentals,” Schutte also adds, “And the Federal Reserve certainly will focus a bit more on tapering — that kind of spooked the market — but ask yourself: What impact is that going to have on growth? The answer to us is not much. You are still going to have a strong U.S. economy next year on the back of reopening, on the back of all the cash that is still available on the consumer balance sheet.

Whether you’re with the bulls or the bears on this, the stock market continues to power forward regardless. As of 6:37 a.m. ET, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures are trading higher by 0.08% and 0.38% respectively. Meanwhile, the Dow futures are declining by 0.15%.

Major Latin American Fintech Set For IPO Listing Today

Nu Holdings (NYSE: NU), better known as Nubank, is set to go public via an initial public offering (IPO) today. As it stands, it is the leading fintech goliath in the Latin American market. Nubank is targeting an IPO price of $9 a share, potentially raising up to $2.86 billion. For a sense of scale, the digital bank currently boasts a membership count of about 48 million. Because of this, it is considered the biggest digital bank globally now. As you can imagine, Nubank offers its clients a wide array of financial services. This includes but is not limited to personal loans, insurance, and investment services.

Not to mention, the company is also receiving backing from the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett. Back in June, Nubank raised $500 million from Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A). Overall, this would be a plus point for Nubank. After all, Buffett is known for having a good eye for value stocks. In essence, value stocks are often linked to companies with solid fundamentals, strong earnings power, and long-term growth prospects. Seeing as one of the most well-known investors already has a stake in Nubank, it could be worth keeping an eye on. This could especially be the case as NU stock goes public on the New York Stock Exchange later today.

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Pfizer CEO Weighs In On Omicron Variant

On the pandemic front, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) CEO Albert Bourla recently provided a key insight. Namely, Bourla’s notes are in line with that of White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci’s from earlier this week. Data from Pfizer’s research suggests that the new variant is milder than previous strains in terms of severity. However, current data also point towards the Omicron variant having high transmissibility. In other words, this means that the variant could be a fast spreader. This, in turn, could lead to more mutations occurring in the already heavily mutated variant, according to Bourla.

Now, it is important to note that all the current data on the variant is mostly based on a wave of infections in South Africa. As such, Bourla cautions that it is still too early to draw conclusions as only 5% of South Africans are over 60 years old. Additionally, there is a high prevalence of HIV-positive individuals in the region, potentially contributing to more severe Covid symptoms. By and large, the Pfizer CEO sees Omicron cases rising over the following weeks. This will be a crucial period as Pfizer considers the need for new shots with Omicron variant info rolling in. With that said, PFE stock will likely continue to be in focus amidst the current pandemic.

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Ford Laser-Focused On Doubling F-150 Pickup Production Capacity

Among the companies riding the wave of consumer interest in electric vehicles (EVs) now is Ford (NYSE: F). So much so that it has and continues to make aggressive plays to cater to this trend. According to CEO Jim Farley, the company’s current production capacity for its upcoming F-150 electric pickup trucks is about half of what the demand is. As a result, Farley now notes that Ford has a “dedicated team”, working towards doubling said production capacity. Seeing as this is the electrification of one of America’s best-selling vehicles, I can understand Ford’s urgency.

To put things into perspective, retail reservations for the new F-150 are closing in on the 200,000 mark. This is based on an update from the COO of Ford North America, Lisa Drake, last week. Even with a refundable $100 deposit needed for reservations, consumers appear to be sold on Ford’s new EV. Moreover, Farley also adds that the demand versus production situation for Ford’s Mustang Mach-E is also similar to that of the F-150’s. All in all, this serves to further Ford’s plans to boost its annual EV production figures to 600,000 by 2023. With the company seemingly kicking into high gear, some would argue that F stock has more room to grow.

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Notable Earnings On Tap Today

Amidst the flurry of exciting stock market news today, investors also have earnings to consider. In both the pre-and post-market sessions, we are looking at a wide array of companies on tap. Before the opening bell, consumer brands such as Lovesac (NASDAQ: LOVE), Thor Industries (NYSE: THO), Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB), Vera Bradley (NASDAQ: VRA), United Natural Food (NYSE: UNFI), and Brown-Forman (NYSE: BF.A) are on tap.

After the closing bell, we have GameStop (NYSE: GME), Restoration Hardware (NYSE: RH), UiPath (NYSE: PATH), Sportsman’s Warehouse (NASDAQ: SPWH), and Udemy (NASDAQ: UDMY) reporting earnings. From the Nubank IPO and Omicron updates to operational plays and earnings, things appear to be heating up in the stock market today.

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