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Target, NIO Beat; "Jobs Week" Starts Tomorrow

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Tuesday, March 5th, 2024

So it’s still Jobs Week, but we need to wait another day for those monthly jobs numbers to hit the tape. A month ago, we got to see JOLTS figures on the Tuesday of Jobs Week; this month, it’s Wednesday, following the private-sector payroll totals from ADP (ADP - Free Report) . After the opening bell today, we’ll see Factory Orders for January and ISM Services for February. Both of these figures are expected to be down somewhat month over month.

As such, we are seeing market indices dwindling further — less because market participants feel worse than they did last week about the future of stocks, but because last week’s run-up in valuation is being trimmed ahead of the big numbers still expected this week. After all, a month ago, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced job gains nearly double what analysts were expecting. Is a similar upside surprise in the cards this month, too, or is the “right-sized” reckoning about to hit the labor market?

Also expected later today — after the close, to be more specific — Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)-rated cybersecurity major CrowdStrike (CRWD - Free Report) will report quarterly numbers, with earnings per share growth anticipated up +24% year over year and revenues +32%. The company has a trailing four-quarter average positive surprise of +16%, and the company has not missed on its bottom line in any quarter since its IPO in 2019.

Big-box retailer Target Corp. (TGT - Free Report) outperformed expectations this morning, with earnings of $2.98 per share notably ahead of the $2.41 in the Zacks consensus (and more than $1 per share above the year-ago’s $1.89 reported). Revenues of $31.92 billion improved on the projected $31.84 billion expected. Further, while the top-end of earnings guidance for next quarter is only modestly ahead of what analysts were expecting, but full-year earnings of $8.60-9.60 per share expected is well beyond the $8.37 previously anticipated.

Chinese EV major NIO (NIO - Free Report) — the so-called “Tesla of China” — posted a slimmer-than-expected loss per American Depositary Share (ADS) of -39 cents on revenues of $2.41 billion, which rose above earlier Zacks consensus. Yet economic issues in China — corollated by Apple’s (AAPL - Free Report) big reported drop in iPhone sales in China — are hampering NIO shares, down -2% in today’s pre-market, -4% year to date and -40% over the past year.

So what we’re seeing in today’s pre-market is continued light selling, akin to Monday’s overall trading attitude: the Dow is -145 points, -0.37%, while the Nasdaq is off -120 points, -0.66%. The S&P 500 and the small-cap Russell 2000 are -0.42% and -0.10% at this hour, respectively. We’ve seen this film before: markets are getting ahead of the potential of big news, near-term — if numbers are worse than expected, this morning’s sellers already have a lead off first base; if they’re better, it allows for a bigger “pop” on the ramp-up.

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