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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.

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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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September 11, 2019

It’s a Grind

The first few sessions this week have been about unwinding and grinding. The unwinding has occurred in the Treasury market and high-multiple growth stocks while the grinding has occurred in the broader market, which has stood its ground with the help of a rotation into value-oriented stocks.

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September 9, 2019

Holding Form So Far With Big Week Ahead

There is a hodgepodge of headline considerations this morning, yet there hasn’t been any change in the underlying tone of the market. It remains bullish, as it has been for the last two weeks. Currently, the S&P futures are up 10 points and are trading 0.4% above fair value. The Nasdaq 100 futures are up 24 points and are trading 0.3% above fair value. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are up 62 points and are trading 0.3% above fair value.

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September 6, 2019

August Employment Report Generates Some Headline Disappointment

The futures market was up before the release of the Employment Situation Report for August. Ostensibly, the news that the People’s Bank of China announced a 50-basis points cut in the required reserve ratio for China’s banks, effective September 16, was the catalyst, yet that cut was expected.

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September 3, 2019

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Heading into the Labor Day holiday, market participants were hoping the holiday weekend would be made more festive by a tweet from President Trump announcing a delay in the increased tariffs set for September 1. There was no such tweet. That realization, and some other developments, has set the tone for a negative start today. Currently, the S&P futures are down 19 points and are trading 0.7% below fair value.

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August 29, 2019

Everybody Remain Calm

Here we go again. Trade words are speaking louder than actions and are adding billions of dollars to market capitalizations without any fundamentally altered reason for that to be the case. Call it a pre-determined response to how this market (and algorithms) works. The call to formulaic action was made by China’s Commerce Minister Gao, who reiterated that China is “willing to solve the problem through consultation and cooperation with a calm attitude, but firmly opposes escalation of trade war,” according to a Bloomberg report.

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August 26, 2019

Whipsawed By Trade Headlines; Market Set To Rally

It hasn’t been a dull start to the week — and the week hasn’t even started for the cash market. On the contrary, the futures market has been full of excitement, which could also be construed as misdirection given the purported catalyst for a spike in the futures for the major indices.

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August 22, 2019

Dining On Some PB&J And Better-Than-Feared News

The futures market appears to be riding an interest rate seesaw again this morning, moving lower when Treasury yields were moving lower and moving higher when Treasury yields are moving higher (as they are now).

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August 19, 2019

Twin Engines Giving Stock Market Some Lift

The stock market staged a rebound rally on Friday, which apparently isn’t done yet. That rally is set to resume at today’s opening bell, as clearly indicated by the futures market. Currently, the S&P futures are up 30 points and are trading 1.1% above fair value. The Nasdaq 100 futures are up 102 points and are trading 1.3% above fair value. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are up 279 points and are trading 1.2% above fair value.

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August 14, 2019

Ready For A Retracement As 10-2 Spread Inverts

Based on the trading action in the futures market, there is no mistaking that the cash market is going to start today’s session on a decidedly lower note. Currently, the S&P futures are down 41 points and are trading 1.2% below fair value. The indications aren’t any better for the other indices.

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August 12, 2019

Growth Concerns Linger After Turbulent Week

The S&P 500 futures trade 12 points, or 0.4%, below fair value following a turbulent week on Wall Street, while investors continue to assess U.S.-China trade relations and the Hong Kong government protests.The Hong Kong protests have yet to materially affect U.S. equity markets but given the limited scope of corporate and economic news today.

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August 7, 2019

Futures Fall Alongside Treasury Yields

U.S. equity futures have reversed course from earlier gains and now trade noticeably lower amid some startling signals in the U.S. Treasury market following more central bank easing. The S&P 500 futures are down 35 points and trade 1.2% below fair value.Three more central banks around the world cut their interest rates overnight as forecasts on the economic outlook diminish.

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July 29, 2019

Little Action In Front Of A Big Week

Record closes for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite on Friday tell the tale of a stock market that is in a good place as the month of July winds down. Whether it can remain in that good place will have a lot to do with a series of important developments that unfold this week.

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July 24, 2019

Yesterday Isn’t Today

There is a different tone to the market this morning than there was yesterday morning. The tone today is negative, which is a far cry still from calling it despondent. The S&P futures are down nine points and are trading 0.3% below fair value. The Nasdaq 100 futures are down 42 points and are trading 0.4% below fair value. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are down 103 points and are trading 0.4% below fair value.

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July 22, 2019

Angling To Buy The Dip

The futures market is sporting a positive bias, as market participants look for a partial reversal of last week’s losses when the opening bell rings. The S&P futures are up nine points and are trading 0.2% above fair value. The Nasdaq 100 futures are up 36 points and are trading 0.3% above fair value. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are up 55 points and are trading 0.2% above fair value.

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July 19, 2019

Market To Ride Microsoft And The Fed Put To Early Gains

The stock market is enjoying the best of both worlds this morning. It knows the Fed is going to cut interest rates at the end of the month and it knows Microsoft (MSFT) — the largest company by market capitalization — delivered an impressive fiscal fourth quarter earnings report.

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July 17, 2019

Stalling For Now In Front Of Earnings Bar

There isn’t much conviction in the futures trade this morning, as the futures for the major indices are little changed and setting a course for a flattish start for the cash market.It’s not for a shortage of trading catalysts. There are plenty. Bank of America (BAC), United Airlines (UAL), Abbott Labs (ABT) and Cintas (CTAS) all topped quarterly earnings estimates

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July 9, 2019

Stuck in Consolidation Rut

The stock market has that consolidation feel to it right now, which shouldn’t be entirely surprising given the huge run it had in June and knowing that some notable trading catalysts are lurking on the near horizon. The first catalyst is Fed Chair Powell’s semiannual monetary policy testimony on Wednesday.

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July 2, 2019

Market Downshifts To Holiday Mode

There isn’t a lot of conviction in the early going, which is understandable as the Fourth of July holiday beckons and the post G-20 enthusiasm lessens. The S&P futures are down two points and are trading 0.1% below fair value.

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June 26, 2019

Old Breaking News Made New Again

The futures market is apparently feeling good about a recycled viewpoint expressed today by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, who told CNBC that the U.S. and China were (emphasis our own) about 90% of the way there with a trade deal.The past tense is important in this observation, because it is the key to explaining why this isn’t “new” news.

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June 19, 2019

FOMC Decision Day Has Arrived

It’s decision day — and we’re not talking about NBA free agents, college recruits, and the like. We’re talking about the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which will be communicating a monetary policy decision at 2:00 p.m. ET.

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