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Briefing In Play offers live market-moving analysis, earnings and news coverage, broker ratings changes, as well as comprehensive economic coverage and commentary. Briefing in Play Plus includes everything in Briefing In Play, and features investment idea generation and in-depth analysis. Briefing Trader includes everything in Briefing In Play Plus, and features live trading ideas with specific entry/exit points as well as access to the new streaming audio feature, Trader Audio.

January 27, 2020

Coronavirus Worries Flip Switch from Risk on to Risk Off

The most prominent factor is the concern involving the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, which is showing up in more countries and is fostering some fear in the market’s mind that it is going to adversely impact economic growth and earnings growth.

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January 23, 2020

A Little Bit Sideways

There are two paths to take when trying to explain the early weakness seen in the futures market. Ultimately, both paths converge. The first path is one of valuation concerns.

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January 22, 2020

Stuck on Happy Ways

Since yesterday, the death toll from the coronavirus has increased to nine and the number of confirmed cases has increased to 440. You know what else has increased? The futures for the major indices. Currently, the S&P futures are up 13 points and are trading 0.4% above fair value.

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January 14, 2020

Muted, But Comfortable, Response to Good News

The stock market is overbought on a short-term basis and due for a pullback. That has to be said, but that doesn’t mean the market has to listen. Markets can stay overbought (or oversold) longer than you think, and thus far, this market isn’t bowing to conventional thought.

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January 8, 2020

All Is Well… Or At Least Better Than Feared

The equity index futures market has been a sight to behold. Last night, the S&P futures were down as many as 53 points, or 1.6%, following the news that Iran had fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two air bases in Iraq housing U.S. and coalition troops. Currently, the S&P futures are up four points, or 0.2%, and are trading 0.1% above fair value.

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January 6, 2020

Back to Business and Geopolitical Uncertainty

Today marks the official end of the holiday period for stock market participants, but it also marks the continuation of a volatile start to the new year. The volatility has been an offshoot of geopolitical conflict between the U.S and Iran, which in turn has fired a warning shot at a market sporting a rich valuation.

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December 16, 2019

Onward To New Highs After Phase One Deal

U.S. futures have extended the market’s bullish bias, as investors warm up to the Phase One trade deal announced on Friday and react positively to some upbeat Chinese data. The S&P 500 futures trade 19 points, or 0.6%, above fair value after a record close in the benchmark index on Friday.

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December 11, 2019

Waiting for Some Important Directions

Market participants still don’t know for sure if the tariffs on the final tranche of imported Chinese goods will go into effect December 15 and they are also waiting to hear (even though they have a good idea already) what Fed Chair Powell has to say at today’s press conference to shed light on what the FOMC is thinking about the economic outlook and the policy rate path.

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December 9, 2019

A Lot Hangs in The Balance

It’s just your typical Monday. Taking things from the top, China reportedly wants to get a trade deal worked out as soon as possible; there is some M&A buzz in the biotech space with ArQule (ARQL) and Synthorx (THOR) being taken out at huge premiums; worries about repo market functioning at year end are said to be festering; and there is a lot of interest in macro matters later in the week.

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December 5, 2019

Close is Enough

The U.S. and China are maintaining close communication. That’s the word from China’s Commerce Ministry and that is somehow making a lot of U.S. companies more valuable today even though it effectively means nothing.

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December 2, 2019

December Ready to Start on Temperate Note

For the stock market, the weather remains pretty temperate. Trade winds have been blowing in a mostly favorable direction, central banks continue to blow hot air into the market with accommodative policies, and economic data have been offering some signs of early spring as it relates to the 2020 growth outlook — growth being the operative word.

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November 20, 2019

A Vote Of Support Pulls Down Futures Market

The futures for the major indices are pointing to a lower open, but if recent trading action is any indication, there is probably not a lot of undue concern about that indication. There won’t be either until the cash market demonstrates it is truly bothered by negative news.

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November 18, 2019

A Do-Over Of Trade Headlines

The tweet in question was posted by China-based CNBC reporter Eunice Yoon, who said a government source informed her that the mood in Beijing about a trade deal is pessimistic because President Trump isn’t endorsing a tariff rollback. China’s strategy, therefore, is to talk now but wait due to the impeachment, U.S. election, and to prioritize China economic support.

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November 14, 2019

Market Stumbling On Way To Starting Block

The stock market might still be inclined to think a trade deal of some kind will come to fruition with China, but given the recent headlines, it has to respect the possibility at least that one won’t. That mindfulness helps explain the slowdown of late in the breakout effort.

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November 11, 2019

Profit Taking Before The Open

U.S. futures have pulled back modestly from all-time highs, as investors continue to monitor U.S. trade negotiations and developments overseas. The S&P 500 futures trade 13 points, or 0.4%, below fair value in a profit-taking trade. There was no meaningful progress on the trade front over the weekend after President Trump said he had yet to agree to roll back tariffs on Friday.

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November 6, 2019

Market Running On Positive Spin Cycle

The stock market seems to be in a wash-rinse-repeat reaction mode, as it is indicated to open higher on the same spin cycle that has driven the Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 to record-high levels. In brief, there is optimism about positive-sounding U.S. China trade negotiations; there is optimism that the growth outlook is better than feared…

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November 4, 2019

Run To New Records On The Way

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed at a record high last week. They will open at an even higher high today, too, and this time they will have company in record territory, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average is poised to join them. Currently, the S&P 500 futures are up 18 points and are trading 0.6% above fair value.

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October 28, 2019

S&P 500 Poised For A Record Run

The major indices appear to be headed higher when the opening bell rings and likely into record territory for the S&P 500. Currently, the S&P futures are up 13 points and are trading 0.4% above fair value. The Nasdaq 100 futures are up 38 points and are trading 0.5% above fair value. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are up 137 points and are trading 0.5% above fair value.

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October 24, 2019

Positive Bias Amid Information Overload

During an earnings-reporting period, you can always count on at least one day to be filled with information overload. Today is one of those days. There have been a ton of earnings reports since yesterday’s close, so be sure to check out our Earnings Results calendar page for the full rundown.

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October 21, 2019

Resiliency In The Futures Trade As Treasury Yields Tick Up

The S&P 500 is on track to extend its two-week advance at the open as the futures tied to the benchmark index trade 16 points, or 0.5%, above fair value. Some of last week’s earnings-driven momentum is carrying over to today’s futures trade despite continued weakness in Boeing (BA 334.40, -9.60, -2.8%) and a delayed Brexit vote.

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October 8, 2019

Trade Angst Revs Up (Again)

It is not going to be a good open for the stock market. The futures for the major indices are trading noticeably lower, undercut by — what else — anxiety about trade dealings with China.

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October 7, 2019

A Long Week Of Trade Matters Ahead

We would be careful about reading too much into the futures market ahead of the open. It is presaging a lower start, but that’s all it is presaging. Beyond the opening bell, anything can happen for this fickle market, which is nervous one moment and confident the next. More often than not, trade matters are the bridge between those two extremes.

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October 2, 2019

Re-Thinking Growth And Valuations

In discussing yesterday’s positive, pre-opening bias in the futures trade, we suggested things could change in the wake of the release of the ISM Manufacturing Index for September if it was weaker than expected. Well, it was, as it registered a 10-year low reading of 47.8%. Following that print, things did change in the market.

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October 1, 2019

An October Carryover

The early read of things is that the stock market should start today’s session on a higher note. The futures for the major indices are trading 0.3% to 0.4% above fair value. There is some carryover action from Monday, including leadership from Apple (AAPL), which is indicated 0.6% higher on no news, and some weakish final manufacturing PMI readings for September out of Japan and the eurozone.

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September 26, 2019

Whistle Blows Before Opening Bell

The impeachment inquiry might be clouding the political outlook, but it doesn’t appear to be clouding the stock market’s bullish bias. The major indices turned in a solid performance on Wednesday, keying on the impressive new home sales data for August, and a remark from the president that a trade deal with China “could happen sooner than you think,” to maintain its hopeful vision of U.S. growth prospects.

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September 23, 2019

Drilling With Flash Cards

There isn’t a great deal of change in the futures market, which is a bit interesting, only because the news that reportedly drove a retreat in Friday’s session was dismissed over the weekend as not being news of any real concern.The press is reporting that the cancellation of the farm visits in Montana by the Chinese delegation should not have been construed as a sign of a breakdown in deputy-level talks ahead of next month’s meeting among senior trade officials in Washington. Furthermore, officials in the U.S. and China called last week’s talks “productive” and “constructive,” respectively.

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September 18, 2019

Springing Some Pre-FOMC Leaks

Today is an FOMC policy decision day, which means early indications don’t hold much water. Having said that, there are a few leaks in pre-market trading. Currently, the S&P futures are down three points and are trading 0.1% below fair value. The Nasdaq 100 futures are down ten points and are trading 0.1% below fair value. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are down 23 points and are trading 0.1% below fair value.

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September 16, 2019

Oil Price Spike Feeds Fading Stock Prices

The geopolitical backdrop got more tense over the weekend; the global economic backdrop presumably got worse; and the corporate earnings outlook got cloudier. With all of that in mind, it is remarkable how nonplussed the futures market looks this morning. Granted the S&P futures are down ten points and are trading 0.4% below fair value, but now stop to consider this morning’s lead headlines…

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