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Indexes Start Lower As Trade Worries Persist

Zacks Equity Research
Vornado Realty (VNO) closes $120-million loan refinancing for its Manhattan retail property -- 4 Union Square South.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

U.S. stock index futures were lower on Wednesday as global trade war fears continue to dent investor confidence despite a robust second-quarter 2018 earnings season.

On Aug 7, the U.S. Trade Representative's office published a list of 279 Chinese import product lines, which will be subject of 25% tariffs worth $16 billion and will be implemented on Aug 23. This is the second part of the first phase of $50 billion tariffs that the Trump administration has decided to impose on Chinese imports. On the other hand, the Chinese government has warned the United States about a "protracted" trade war if the Trump administration continues to impose tariffs on Chinese goods.

Meanwhile, three major companies reported earnings results after the closing bell on Tuesday. However, the results were mixed. The Walt Disney Co. DIS missed both earnings and revenues estimates. Papa John's International Inc. PZZA missed the top line while its bottom line barely met the consensus mark. However, Snap Inc. SNAP posted strong quarterly results. CVS Health Corp. CVS, Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. KORS, Cimarex Energy Co. XEC and Liberty Global plc LBTYA are slated to release earnings results on Wednesday.

Wall Street continued to notch up gains on Tuesday. Robust second-quarter 2018 earnings results strengthened investor’s confidence on the strong fundamentals of the U.S. economy. This enabled market participants to shrug off trade related fears. All three major stock indexes maintain their bull-run closing in positive territory. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) closed at 25,628.91, gaining 0.5% or 126.73 points. The S&P 500 Index (INX) increased 0.3% to close at 2,858.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) closed at 7,883.66, advancing 0.3%. A total of 6.2 billion shares were traded on Tuesday, lower than the last 20-session average of 6.3 billion shares. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1.20-to-1 ratio. On the Nasdaq, advancers had an edge over decliners by 1.29-to-1 ratio.  The CBOE VIX decreased 3% to close at 10.93, its lowest close since January.

The Dow ended its third-straight winning day with 22 components of the 30-stock blue-chip index closed in the green, while only 8 finished in the red. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has gained six days in a row, its longest winning run since March. 

The S&P 500 closed its fourth consecutive winning sessions buoyed by a 0.7% rise in both Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) and Industrials Select Sector SPDR (XLI).  Notably, eight out of 11 sectors of the benchmark index closed in the green while 3 ended in the red.

Investors have pinned high hopes on second-quarter 2018 earnings results. U.S. corporates have so far posted better-than-expected numbers.

Office Depot Inc. ODP posted second-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings per share of $0.05, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. The company generated sales of $2,628 million that fared better than the consensus mark of $2,605 million and increased 11% year over year.  (Read More)

The Mosaic Co. MOS posted second-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings per share of $0.40, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. The company generated sales of $2,205 million lagging the consensus mark of $2,348 million and increased 11% year over year. (Read More)

Consequently, share price of Office Depot and The Mosaic were up 13.5% and 5.3%, respectively. The Mosaic carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Shares of Tesla Inc. TSLA jumped 11% on Tuesday following a blog post by its CEO Elon Musk stating that he is considering converting Tesla a private company at a conversion rate of $420 per share. Musk hoped that all investors would remain with Tesla even if it went private.

On Aug 7, the U.S. Trade Representative's office published a list of 279 Chinese import product lines, which will be subject of 25% tariffs worth $16 billion and will be implemented on Aug 23. This is the second part of the first phase of $50 billion tariffs that the Trump administration has decided to impose on Chinese imports.

The U.S. government announced that it is following on with its plan to reimpose sanctions on Iran. Officials announced that some sanctions has come into effect once again since 12:01 AM ET on Tuesday. The remaining measures will resume from Nov 5, 2018.

On Aug 7, the Labor Department reported that job openings rose by mere 3,000 to 6.66 million in June. However, the figure surpassed the 6.56 million people who were searching for jobs in the same month. Overall hiring was 5.65 million in June compared with 5.75 million in May. People quitting their jobs declined slightly to 3.4 million in June from nearly 3.5 million in May.

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The Walt Disney Company (DIS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Snap Inc. (SNAP) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Liberty Global PLC (LBTYA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
The Mosaic Company (MOS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Cimarex Energy Co (XEC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CVS Health Corporation (CVS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Papa John's International, Inc. (PZZA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Office Depot, Inc. (ODP) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Michael Kors Holdings Limited (KORS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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