Stock Market Futures Steady After Turbulent Start To The Trading Week

Stock market futures remain mostly unchanged ahead of Tuesday’s opening bell this week. In general, investors could still be digesting yesterday’s choppy trading session. After all, stocks sank towards record intraday lows only to bounce back before the closing bell. The Nasdaq index in particular rose, ending the day on a positive note. However, the S&P 500 and Dow remained in the red, amidst all this. Between this and increasing interest rate hikes alongside the looming pandemic, there are plenty of things weighing on markets now.

Explaining all of this is Steven Wieting, global chief investment strategist at Citi (NYSE: C) Private Bank. Wieting believes that we are currently “seeing across the board a re-rating of what the Federal Reserve will do”. He also adds that the Fed is likely to succeed and “sinking inflation” and that this is inevitable. In fact, JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon also weighed in on all this. Dimon said, “I’d personally be surprised if it’s just four increases.

Nevertheless, even as the situation develops, there is no shortage of exciting stock market news for investors to consider today. As of 7:25 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading higher by 0.18%, 0.33%, and 0.52% respectively.

Tesla Lands Massive Nickel Supply Agreement With Talon Metals

To begin with, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) is starting the new year strong with a new supply deal for nickel. Before going into the details, Nickel is a vital component in electric vehicles (EVs). Specifically in their batteries as nickel provides lithium-ion batteries with a higher energy density and greater storage capacity. In detail, Tesla is now partnering with Talon Metals (OTCMKTS: TLOFF). Through the current agreement, Tesla now has access to its first U.S. supply deal for nickel via Talon’s Tamarack mine in Minnesota. Now, Tesla is agreeing to buy at least 75,000 metric tons of nickel over the next six years. This adds up to about 165 million lbs of nickel in concentrate.

Overall, the deal currently works on the condition that Talon earns a 60% interest in the Tamarack project. For now, it owns a 51% interest with Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO) owning the remaining 49%. According to Tesla, “The Talon team has taken an innovative approach to the discovery, development, and production of battery materials, including to permanently store carbon as part of mine operations and the investigation of the novel extraction of battery materials.” Thanks to its seemingly sustainable operations, Tesla seems keen to supplement its clean energy operations with nickel from Talon. Given this positive news, TSLA stock could be worth a watch in the stock market today.

TSLA stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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Elsewhere, (NASDAQ: JD) is kicking into high gear over in Europe. Namely, this is thanks to the reveal of its latest brand of ‘robotic shops’ under the Ochama brand. Now, the Chinese e-commerce giant is opening two Ochama retail locations in the Netherlands. As the name suggests, robotic shops are fully run by robots that prepare and deliver packages. Notably, this also marks JD’s first attempt at a brick-and-mortar location in Europe. For the most part, the company’s move into the European market is not all that surprising. It is in line with CEO Xin Lijun’s plans for “further strategic analysis in Vietnam and Europe”, as mentioned in an interview last year. 

For consumers in the Netherlands, Ochama brings a unique yet convenient shopping experience. According to JD, shoppers can order a wide array of products ranging through the Ochama app. This ranges from edible groceries to cosmetics and even furniture. From there, customers can either choose to pick up their order from the store or receive it via delivery. The first option will see automated vehicles and robotic arms prepare orders ahead of time.

Looking forward, JD is also planning to open additional stores in Amsterdam and Utrecht; two other cities in the Netherlands. All things considered, some would argue that we could be looking at exciting times ahead for JD stock.

JD stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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Crocs Sees Surge In Fourth-Quarter Sales After ‘Exceptional Year’

Crocs (NASDAQ: CROX) is among the retailers making waves in the stock market now as well. To highlight, this is thanks to the latest update on the company’s operations from CEO Andrew Rees. For starters, yesterday, Rees said, “2021 proved to be an exceptional year for the Crocs brand … amidst a challenging global supply chain environment.” Furthermore, Crocs also predicts that its 2021 sales could soar by as much as 67% year-over-year. For reference, the company’s previous estimates suggested growth between 62% to 65%.

However, that’s not all. The shoe manufacturing titan also sees its latest quarterly sales figures rising steadily as well. As it stands, Crocs’ outlook is for a 42% year-over-year jump in sales, well above consensus estimates of 36.6%. All this alongside its ongoing $2.5 billion acquisition for footwear label Hey Dude provides plenty of info for investors to note. With immense gains of over 1,000% since its pandemic era low, the real question now is whether CROX stock still has room to run.

CROX stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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Pfizer Secures Over $400 Million Army Contract; Lands Partnerships To Expand mRNA Tech

As one of the first healthcare giants to come out with a COVID-19 vaccine, most would be familiar with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE). Even now, as the pandemic rages on via the highly infectious Omicron variant, Pfizer remains hard at work expanding access to its life-saving technology. This is evident as the company is starting the trading week with numerous positive updates. Firstly, the company is now set to produce 835,000 courses of its antiviral oral COVID-19 treatment for the U.S. Army. Through the $442 million contract modification, Pfizer will be doing this for the army’s administration, vendor-managed inventory, and distribution activities.

Secondly, the company also revealed new partnerships with the likes of Beam Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BEAM), Codex DNA (NASDAQ: DNAY), and Acuitas Therapeutics. With Beam, Pfizer is entering a four-year research collaboration, focusing on in vivo base editing programs for rare genetic diseases. Alongside Codex, Pfizer is getting into a licensing agreement for its mRNA-based vaccine tech. Codex is looking to use this technology to develop vaccines and biopharma products. Also, Pfizer is working with Acuitas on a similar development and option agreement, using its mRNA-based tech as well. All in all, with Pfizer seemingly firing on all cylinders now, PFE stock could be in focus.

PFE stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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