Stock Market Futures Marginally Higher Ahead Of December Job Report

Stock market futures are moving slightly higher as the first trading week of the new year comes to a close. Accordingly, this is despite two key factors weighing in on markets now. Between the potential acceleration of interest rate hikes and the Omicron Covid variant running rampant, investors are understandably cautious. While most are considering their next steps carefully, market strategists have plenty of input on the stock market today.

To begin with, Keith Lerner, Chief Market Strategist at bank holding firm Truist (NYSE: TFC), provided some insight. He notes that shifts in Fed policies introduce volatility into markets, more often than not. Lerner also continues to say, “Stocks have generally had positive performance during periods where the Fed is raising short-term rates because this is normally paired with a healthy economy.” 

At the same time, analysts over at investment banking firm UBS (NYSE: UBS) also weighed in on the current state of things. The firm argues that the current dips in stocks are “a bit overdone”. Additionally, it also highlights, “The normalization of Fed policy shouldn’t dent the outlook for corporate profit growth, which remains on solid footing due to strong consumer spending, rising wages, and still-easy access to capital.” As of 7:18 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading higher by 0.02%, 0.18%, and 0.29% respectively.

GameStop Surges On News Of Latest Work On NFTs

GameStop (NYSE: GME) is the latest meme stock making headlines in the stock market now. As we approach the one-year mark for the start of the retail investor-fueled meme stock frenzy, GME stock is once again in focus. Namely, GameStop is looking to introduce a digital marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs). This report comes from The Wall Street Journal citing “people familiar with the matter”. Overall, investors could consider this an intersection between hyped-based trends in the stock market today. With the titular meme stock titan GameStop jumping into the NFT business, this is understandable.

consumer stocks (GME stock)

In detail, the report notes that GameStop’s marketplace will specialize in video game NFTs. Simply put, the company is planning to mainly facilitate the buying and selling of NFTs involving video game character collectibles. This would be a smart play by GameStop considering the rising prominence of NFTs in the gaming world. Evidently, companies like Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) are already looking to introduce such collectibles in future games. 

On top of all this, GameStop is also reportedly eager to establish cryptocurrency partnerships. These partnerships would then serve to create games and items for its marketplace. As a result, GME stock surged to a high of over 22% in extended trading yesterday. Nonetheless, investors would be keeping an eye on the company’s shares in the stock market today.

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DWAC Stock Gains As Trump SPAC Provides Official Launch Date For Social Media Platform

Elsewhere, Digital World Acquisition (NASDAQ: DWAC), the SPAC linked to Donald Trump, is once again gaining traction. Notably, this is thanks to the latest news surrounding the launch of Trump’s social media platform, TRUTH Social. For starters, DWAC stock surged by over 19% during intraday trading yesterday. The current move in the company’s shares is thanks to the release date for the platform being quietly announced. Yesterday, a listing on the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) app store revealed that the app is set to go live on February 21. This could also indicate that the SPAC merger between DWAC and Trump Media & Technology is likely to close by then.

All of this is based on the latest update from the former president onFox News last month. In that interview, Trump notes that the company should be “up and running” by the first quarter of 2022. This alongside news of the company tapping Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) to take the mantle of CEO after retirement, continues to generate hype around DWAC stock. Not to mention, there is also the recent $1 billion PIPE deal funding the operation to consider as well. Given Trump’s current following, investors may be eager to jump on the TRUTH Social train ahead of its launch.

dwac stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

Unity Teams Up With Hyundai To Create Metaverse-Based Factory

In other news, more companies are turning to the metaverse, and Unity (NYSE: U) is more than happy to help. As of yesterday, the company is now working with Korean automotive titan Hyundai Motor (OTCMKTS: HYMTF). For the most part, the duo will be jointly designing and building a new metaverse roadmap and platform for Hyundai. All of which will work to conceptualize and create a “Meta-Factory” for the carmaker. According to Hyundai, the partnership will involve elements of smart manufacturing, artificial intelligence (AI) training, and autonomous driving simulation.

growth stocks (U stock)

In theory, Hyundai believes that the Meta-Factory will serve as a virtual testing facility. Said facility will then serve to optimize plant operations while enabling plant managers to troubleshoot issues virtually. As it stands, Hyundai aims to put the first Meta-Factory concept to work in its innovation hub in Singapore. The company sees all of this being accomplished by the end of 2022. Safe to say, the current deal marks a major win for Unity. After all, one of the largest automakers in the world is relying on its expertise in the metaverse space.

In the larger scheme of things, this would show the continuous shift towards this new frontier in tech. From tech names such as Meta (NASDAQ: FB) to even retailers like Nike (NYSE: NKE) this is apparent. With that said, investors may want to consider U stock among other metaverse players now.

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Duck Creek Technologies Posts Solid First Quarter Figures; Announces Partnership With Experian

Duck Creek Technologies (NASDAQ: DCT) reported its first-quarter fiscals after yesterday’s closing bell. In it, the company posted solid year-over-year gains across its core metrics. Among them is a 25% increase in total revenue and a 40% jump in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) annual recurring revenue. For those uninitiated, Duck Creek is a provider of SaaS-delivered enterprise software. Through its services, the company serves the property & casualty insurance industry.

Providing a positive update on all this is Duck Creek CEO, Michael Jackowski. He said, “We continue to see strong demand activity amongst new and existing customers that are making meaningful investments in their core systems to drive better, more profitable performance across their businesses.” Looking forward, Jackowski also notes that the company is focusing on capitalizing on generational trends in insurers looking to “modernize” their core systems.

Moreover, the company is now working with Experian, a global leading information services firm. Through this partnership, the duo aim to assist general insurance providers in the U.K. They will be doing so by improving the quality of their customers’ underwriting and claims handling services via enhanced consumer data insights. All of this will be possible as Duck Creek delivers on-demand SaaS solutions via Experian’s iCache platform. As such, I could see DCT stock turning heads in the stock market today.

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