Stock Market Today:

Featured Article:

Stock Market Today: November 17, 2021

Stock Market Today: November 17, 2021

John E. Seibert III | 11/17/2021

Before The Bell - The futures markets started mixed today, coming on the heels of a strong performance the day before. Yesterday saw the indices benefiting from strong earnings results, as sales from a few key retailers suggested that demand will continue to expand even with rising prices. The indices rose throughout the day, with the S&P 500 finishing up 18 points, The Dow Jones Industrial Average up 55 points, and the NASDAQ up 120 points, in all cases closing near their all-time highs. The futures market headed modestly lower throughout the evening, however, as traders reduced their exposure. The futures are now mixed, suggesting an uneven start to the trading day.


Meanwhile, despite a move higher in the related indices, market breadth was slightly negative, as decliners outpaced advancers by a 1.2-to-1.0 ratio yesterday. Consumer discretionary stocks performed the best, aided by strong moves from Tesla (TSLA) and Home Depot (HD). The latter reported strong earnings results, and is demonstrating an ability to pass along price increases to customers. Conversely, communications equities were among the worst performers on the day.


President Biden has stated that he expects to pick the next chairman of the Federal Reserve later this week. It is unclear whether he will nominate current chairman, Jerome Powell, or attempt to elevate another Federal Reserve Governor, such as Fed Governor Lael Brainard, to the role. The sentiment on Wall Street is that Chairman Powell will be President Biden’s choice, and his candidacy faces a greater likelihood of confirmation by the Senate. However, if Brainard is selected, a change in the Fed Chair could lead to dovish interest-rate policy, stricter regulations on banks, and uncertainty in the markets on the odds of confirmation. Overall, trading will likely be affected by whatever choice is made in the coming days. 


In commodity news, oil prices were largely flat yesterday, as traders think growing supplies will meet higher demand for fuel due to economic recovery. Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury bond yields trended higher as traders moved out of the safe-haven asset. The VIX Volatility Index was slightly lower, as demand for options protection waned a bit.


Looking ahead, the coming days see several economic data reports released, headlined by jobless claims and the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index. Just moments ago, we learned that housing starts for October came in below expectations. Moreover, several regional Fed governors will give remarks, and traders will be interested to see what insights can be gleaned on interest-rate policy. In earnings news, several dozen companies are slated to report in the coming days, though it remains clear that earnings season is winding down. Overall, we think most eyes will be on earnings and on the potential change in Federal Reserve leadership.  - John E. Seibert III


At the time of this writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned in this article.


Previous Daily Updates: