Stock Market Futures Seeking For Direction As The Week Wraps Up

Stock market futures are mixed after major indices closed near record levels. The S&P 500 is on track for its sixth positive week in seven, sitting just 0.3% below its all-time high. The stock market gained even more momentum after new unemployment numbers came in at 268,000 last week. And investors are taking it as a signal that the unemployment level is moving closer to pre-pandemic levels. That aside, the strong corporate earnings thus far may have also improved the market outlook in the near term.

Better than expected earnings has been the name of the game this week for the market. While investors may have entered earnings season with some trepidation, there are some clear signs that consumers are resilient and corporate balance sheets are strong despite pricing pressures.”-  Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade Financial. 

Meanwhile, investors are closely watching President Joe Biden’s pick for the next Federal Reserve chair. The president will decide whether to reappoint Jerome Powell or Fed Governor Lael Brainard by the weekend. Many are expecting Powell to extend another term. Should there be any sort of a change, investors could expect an even more dovish Fed. As of 6:31 a.m. ET, the Dow and S&P 500 futures are trading lower by 0.44% and 0.15% respectively. Meanwhile, Nasdaq futures are rising by 0.36%.

XPeng Unveils New SUV Targeting International Markets

XPeng (NYSE: XPEV) unveiled a new electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) earlier today as competition among Chinese EV stocks continues to intensify. This could act as another catalyst for the red-hot EV stock in the stock market today. For the uninitiated, XPEV stock has been charging higher since the beginning of October. This came after the company delivered more than 10,000 vehicles for two consecutive months.

The latest model, the G9, is the fourth model on XPeng’s lineup. It’s the second SUV after the G3 and is another contender in this competitive segment of the market. XPeng’s G9 will be competing with its domestic rivals Nio’s (NYSE: NIO) ES6 and Li Auto’s (NASDAQ: LI) Li One. According to people familiar with the matter, the company plans to launch the SUV in China in the third quarter of 2022. XPeng said that the G9 is its first model that has been conceived and designed from the outset for both the Chinese and international markets.

Notably, XPeng says that the G9 SUV will be compatible with X-Power superchargers. These allow the vehicles to charge up to a 200 kilometer driving range in five minutes. Additionally, the G9 will also have its own set of autopilot technology built in with Lidar technology. Other than that, the company has also joined the ranks of futurists betting on flying cars. XPeng expects to begin mass production of these flying cars by 2024 and sell them for no more than $157,000. With these exciting developments, it’s understandable why investors are bullish on XPEV stock as of late.  

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Bitcoin & Other Cryptocurrencies Continue To Slide Amid Regulatory Concerns

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continued to slide as traders appear to be taking some profits off the table. The biggest cryptocurrency also saw its trading volume decline over the past few days across major crypto exchanges. The recent bearishness haunting the space came amid heightened scrutiny in Washington. And that may have unnerved some crypto investors.

The sharply divergent views between Democrats and Republicans may also be one of the factors weighing down the crypto market. As you may or may not be aware, the Democrats on Wednesday argued that the crypto market should offer more protection to its consumers and investors. The party also said that the markets have been seeing manipulation and fraud, and that stablecoins could actually destabilize the financial system.

The mainstreaming of digital assets is laying the foundation for huge swaths of the economy to invest in this market,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va), chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, in a statement. Yet cryptos “create significant consumer protection issues”, he warned. He said that some retail investors may have fallen victim to the recent Squid Game token crash as an example. The token was inspired by the Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) series of the same name, yet has no official affiliation.

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Ford Has A New Plan To Tackle Chip Shortage; Plans To Increase EV Production

By now, you might have felt the impact from the global semiconductor shortages. From the latest Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) products to the Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) Model Y, the impact is felt across the board. Therefore, Ford Motor (NYSE: F) is taking new steps to mitigate the impact on its production. On Thursday, the automaker announced a new collaboration with Global Foundries (NASDAQ: GFS) to manufacture automotive semiconductors in the U.S. If anything, this shows that big automakers intend to have more control over the supply of these semiconductor chips.

It’s critical that we create new ways of working with suppliers to give Ford—and America—greater independence in delivering the technologies and features our customers will most value,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley in a statement. “This agreement is just the beginning, and a key part of our plan to vertically integrate key technologies and capabilities that will differentiate Ford far into the future.

Separately, Ford also announced that it plans to increase its EV production capacity to 600,000 units globally by 2023. Should this go as planned, this would double the number of electric vehicles the company had initially expected to produce over the next 2 years, according to Automotive News. With Ford’s increasing investment in this space, it might just become the second largest U.S.-based producer of EVs in the near future. 

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Earnings To Watch In The Stock Market Today

With the closing of this week of the earnings season, investors remain as busy as ever. For those keen to catch companies reporting before the opening bell, there is no shortage of names to note. The list includes Foot Locker (NYSE: FL), Buckle (NYSE: BKE) and Destination XL Group (NASDAQ: DXLG).

By and large, it seems like investors can expect another interesting day of earnings ahead, to say the least. Whether it is keeping up with crypto news, chasing EV trends, or simply following corporate earnings, there is enough to keep you occupied as we wrap up the week.

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