Morning Update: Economic Growth and Trade Concerns Send Markets Lower

First Look

Major indices are lower before the bell Thursday. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell again signaled the central bank will be patient given the balance of inflation and economic growth in the U.S. The Fed said it will extend the pause on interest rates, with no additional rises this year, signaling the possibility of rate cuts in the future. In the press conference, Powell said “It may be some time before the outlook for jobs and inflation calls clearly for a change in policy”. He also said that the central bank would end the drawdown on bond holdings in September, sending Treasury yields to lows not seen in more than a year. President Trump said at the White House Wednesday that he will keep tariffs on China for a substantial period to ensure that China lives up to terms of any agreed-upon trade deal. China has been pushing to have the tariffs removed as part of any deal. This lowers optimism that negotiations will lead to a deal being finalized in the near-future. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are scheduled to visit China again on March 28 and 29. The S&P 500 is down -0.35%, the Nasdaq is down -0.39%, the Nasdaq is down -0.39%.

Today's market outlook is Neutral

Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.
Pat Riley

Stocks on the Move

Conagra Brands Inc (CAG), Micron Technology, Inc. (MU) and Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) are moving higher this morning, while Biogen Inc (BIIB), Eli Lilly And Co (LLY) and 3M Co (MMM) are headed lower. Apple Inc. (AAPL), Dollar Tree, Inc. (DLTR) and ConocoPhillips (COP) were upgraded by analysts this morning, while Pier 1 Imports Inc (PIR), Micron Technology, Inc. (MU) and Nordstrom, Inc. (JWN) were downgraded.

International Markets

Stocks in Asia are mixed. The Shanghai SE Composite Index is up 0.35%, the Nikkei 225 is up 0.2%, the Mumbai Sensex is up 0.06% the Australia ASX All Ordinaries is up 0.03% and the Hang Seng is down -0.85%. In Europe stocks are mixed. The FTSE 100 is up 0.38%, the CAC 40 is down -0.3%, the Euro Stoxx 50 is down -0.34% and the DAX is down -0.73%.

Futures and Currencies

Energy futures are down today. The price for West Texas Intermediate crude oil is down -0.46 at 59.77 per barrel. Brent crude is down -0.38 at 68.12 per barrel. Natural Gas is down -0.01 at 2.81. Precious metals are up this morning. Gold is up 2.91 at 1315.44 per ounce. Platinum is up 11.86 at 874.42 while silver is up 0.24 at 15.56. The dollar is mixed compared to the major currencies today. The greenback is up against the euro, down against the Yen and up against the Pound.

Put/Call Ratio

Yesterday, 1,038,745 call contracts traded on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) compared to 604,610 put contracts. The single-session put/call was 0.58 while the 20-day moving average is now at 0.62.

Earnings Expected Today

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Today's Economic Calendar

What's Happening Period Release Time
Initial Claims 03/16 08:30
Continuing Claims 03/09 08:30
Philadelphia Fed Index Mar 08:30
Leading Indicators Feb 10:00
EIA Natural Gas Inventories 03/16 10:30

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