Investors shrugged off the daily increase in coronavirus infections in several states and bet on an increase in economic activity as stock market futures pointed to a higher open, plus stocks to watch today in the Money & Markets Opening Bell.
The Top Story
The risk of a COVID-19 resurgence has led to choppy trading sessions this week, but the three main stock market indexes are poised to finish the week higher.
California, Florida and North Carolina urged mandatory mask use on Thursday as at least six states set daily records for new virus cases.
The S&P 500 ended marginally higher on Thursday while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite notched its 16th rise in the last 19 sessions. As of Thursday’s close, the S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow Jones are about 8% and 12% below their respective record-closing highs hit in February. The Nasdaq is about 0.5% below its all-time closing high set on June 10.
Oil major Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) moved 1.7% higher in premarket trading and Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) was up 0.4% as international benchmark Brent crude oil moved above $42 a barrel.
Markets could be a little more volatile during Friday’s session as investors unwind interest in futures and options contracts prior to expiration.
As of 9:20 a.m. Dow Jones futures were 1.37% higher. S&P 500 futures moved up 1.21% and Nasdaq futures jumped 1%.
Stocks to Watch Today
Tiziana Life Sciences ADR (Nasdaq: TLSA) — The British-based biotechnology company said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent covering its technology and administration of its proprietary fully human antibody. Shares of Tiziana jumped 17.7%.
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) — Shares of the American movie theater chain rose 8.8% in premarket trading after the company officially set an opening date for 450 theaters in the U.S. The company said it will reopen those theaters on July 15.
American Software Inc. (Nasdaq: AMSWA) — The Georgia-based software company reported in-line earnings in the last quarter of $0.04 per share. Despite beating Wall Street expectations for revenue, shares of American Software were down 5.2%.
German Financial Services Company Missing $2 Billion
Two banks in the Philippines that were meant to be holding more than $2 billion for a German financial services company said they don’t have the money … and never did.
Wirecard AG, a German fintech company, has faced scrutiny after its auditor refused to sign off the accounts, believing it had been deceived over whether the money actually existed in the first place, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Shares of Wirecard lost nearly $9 billion in market value on the German stock market on Thursday and another $2.4 billion on Friday.
The company’s CEO resigned suddenly on Friday as its share price continued to collapse.
Marathon in Talks With Potential Buyers of Speedway Unit
Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC) is looking at options for its massive Speedway gas-station unit, including a possible sale.
One potential buyer is Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., a Canadian-based convenience store chain, but there hasn’t been a determination of the value of the Speedway franchise, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Another possibility for Speedway is for Marathon to spin off the unit.
China Accelerating US Farm Purchases
China plans to step up its purchases of American farm goods to comply with the phase one trade deal.
Following talks in Hawaii this week, China intends to ramp up purchases of everything from soybeans to corn and ethanol, according to Bloomberg.
People familiar with the matter said the Chinese government has asked state-owned agricultural buyers to help meet the phase one agreement.
What We’re Reading
This Long-Term Indicator With a High Win Rate Is Bullish for Stocks (Money & Markets)
GM Closed its Lordstown Plant. Now, Ohio Wants its $60M Tax Break Back (CNN Business)
Low Interest Rates Will Send Gold Soaring Past $1,920 Again (Money & Markets)
Here are the companies releasing earnings reports today:
Alithya Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ALYA)
CarMax Inc. (NYSE: KMX)
Jabil Inc. (NYSE: JBL)
Lightinthebox Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: LITB)
Check back each morning before the opening bell for stocks to watch today with Opening Bell, here on Money & Markets.