Stock Market Futures Edged Higher As Investors Weigh Omicron Variant

Stock market futures are climbing in early morning trading on Monday. For the most part, this would be investors reacting to Friday’s mass sell-offs. Understandably, this reaction is on account of the Omicron Covid variant receiving attention from health officials. Regardless, there is plenty of notable stock market news to consider moving forward. Today, investors will likely be taking note of October’s pending home sales data on the economic recovery front. More importantly, the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report will also be released on Friday later this week.

Given the vast array of data points, and ongoing issues to consider, investors may be looking for some direction in the current market. On one hand, there are market bears such as Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakly Advisory Group. Boockvar said, “It’s a heavy data week with the ISMs [Institute of Supply Management] and certainly payrolls, but I think this new variant is going to freeze behavior until there’s more clarity.” On the other hand, you have market bulls like Scott Redlar, partner with He said, “Right now, the market lost some momentum, but it’s not broken. It could be just fine and refuel if the 50-day moving average on the S&P 500 holds next week. It’s all very fluid.

With all that said, one fact remains. There is certainly no shortage of exciting developments to note in the stock market now. As of 7:30 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading higher by 0.52%, 0.69%, and 0.81% respectively.

Omicron Covid Variant Vaccines Incoming

Regarding the pandemic, we are seeing a resurgence in Covid-related news this week. After the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the new Omicron variant as a variant of concern (VoC), this is understandable. Even so, vaccine companies such as Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) and Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) are already hard at work addressing the issue. For starters, Moderna notes that its Omicron variant vaccine could be reformulated by early 2022. According to Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton, Moderna is awaiting data on the effectiveness of its current vaccine against the VoC. Should a reformulation be required, Moderna appears more than ready to tackle the challenge.

Meanwhile, Novavax is also starting research on its own Omicron-focused vaccine. As of last Friday, the company stated that it would have a testable shot up for manufacturing in the coming weeks. All of this is alongside the company’s rolling review processes across numerous parts of the globe for its current vaccine. This includes but is not limited to Novavax’s regulatory efforts in the U.S., Canada, and the E.U. As a result of their latest updates, both MRNA stock and NVAX stock closed last week higher by over 28%. With more investors tuning back into the latest stock market news after a Thanksgiving weekend, this trend could persist.

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Fisker Debuts ‘World’s Most Sustainable EV’

Before the latest round of focus on vaccine stocks, electric vehicles were in the stock market spotlight. Accordingly, Fisker (NYSE: FSR) appears to be the latest EV industry player making plays now. This is evident as the company recently unveiled its Ocean EV SUV. According to Fisker founder and acclaimed auto designer Henrik Fisker, the company is now producing the EV. In detail, Fisker highlights that the SUV boasts a range of 350 miles on a single charge. On the hardware front, it is an all-wheel-drive, dual-motor system that pushes about 540 horsepower.

Overall, this appears to be Fisker’s answer to the booming premium EV market now. To point out, the company would be up against similar EV titans with a price range of about $65,000 on its higher-end Ocean models. At the same time, Fisker is also offering consumers a base version of this EV, the Ocean Sport. Despite having fewer bold specifications and a lower range, the vehicle is currently priced at $37,499. Not to mention, this is before including state and local incentives which are becoming more prominent amidst shifting auto trends. Arguably, this would place it among the most affordable names in the EV space now. With Fisker coming onto the EV scene strong, I could see investors considering FSR stock in the stock market today.

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Shopify Sees Record Black Friday Sales

Shopify (NYSE: SHOP) is among the retailers that are having a ball of a time this Black Friday weekend. Namely, the company posted record worldwide sales figures of about $2.9 billion across all its merchants. This would mark a sizable year-over-year increase of 21%. Additionally, the company also saw an average cart price of $101.20, a notable increase from last year’s $90.70. According to Shopify, New York, London, and Los Angeles were among the top-selling locations on its platform. Furthermore, apparel and accessories were its hottest product category during the mega sales event. All things considered, it seems like the demand for Shopify’s services continues to rise going into the holiday shopping season.

Despite year-to-date gains of over 40%, it would not surprise me to see investors eyeing SHOP stock now. After all, the return of investor interest in pandemic plays in light of the Omicron variant news would be a key factor here. By and large, Shopify President Harley Finkelstein had this to say, “From in-store retailers to online, and even viral TikTok must-haves, these Black Friday sales show that independent businesses are having a massive impact on global commerce. Consumer support of independent brands is at an all-time high.” As such, some would argue that SHOP stock could be worth keeping an eye on now.

Stock Market Earnings To Note Today

Aside from all that, there are also several companies reporting earnings in the pre-and post-market hours. In the earlier category, we have the likes of EV giant Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI) and shipping giant Frontline (NYSE: FRO) on tap. Alternatively, those eyeing earnings after the closing bell have financial firms such as StoneX (NASDAQ: SNEX) and Golub Capital (NASDAQ: GBDC) to consider. From pandemic woes to earnings and holiday shopping activity, we seem to be looking at a busy week ahead for the stock market.

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