Ahead of today’s opening bell, we see index futures up somewhat — we’d say “marginally,” but this is a relative term: in these days of breakneck volatility, double-digit moves in either direction count as “marginal” moves. The Dow’s implied open is roughly 48 points, the Nasdaq is up 17 and the S&P 500 +4.
We continue to await new economic figures, in today’s case Advanced Trade numbers for December, which had been mothballed due to the month-plus partial U.S. government shutdown. With the government back open (for now), these metrics will still take some time to be properly formulated.
After the bell, we expect to see new Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) numbers for January: +124 is the consensus currently, down a bit from the 128.1 read we saw in December. Also, a new read on the Home Ownership Rate comes out around the same time (10am ET); last month’s read reached 64.4%. There is no current consensus for today’s headline number.
All Eyes on Apple
Of course, with Apple (AAPL - Free Report) reporting fiscal Q1 earnings results after the closing bell this afternoon, this is where the majority of attention will be taken — especially taking into account the company’s rare warning about these figures late last month. Concerns about a slowing Chinese market sent shares of the stock — now off 18% over the past 6-month period — plummeting amid a major sell-off overall at the end of calendar 2018.
Apple has only missed earnings estimates once over the past 5 years, and many analysts see this pre-announcement warning baked into the cake. With a P/E in the low teens currently, perhaps much of the pain for this quarter has already been absorbed by the market. Should this be the case, the board at Apple, including CEO Tim Cook, should be congratulated for mitigating expectations on the quarter. Then again, we really don’t know until the numbers come out…
No less than 63% of Apple’s revenues come from iPhone sales, and expectations are for a drop of 15% in China for the quarter. This has taken revenues down 4.75% from their original target, now to somewhere around $84.1 billion.
For a comprehensive look at Apple’s earnings before they come out, have a look at Zacks’ Ben Rains’ account released yesterday. This should help any investor get up to speed on what to expect from the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock: What to Expect from Apple’s Earnings: iPhone, Services & Chinese Revenues.
Case Shiller November Home Prices
Though a metric somewhat in the rearview mirror, the Case Shiller Home Price Index is out this morning for the month of November is generally regarded as the most accurate of housing price data. What we see in this morning’s release is a positive surprise: +5.2% versus 4.8% expected. At first blush, this appears to be a pretty Goldilocks number: not too hot, not too cold. That housing prices are going up is good; that they are not going up so fast that they’re pulling massive inflation up with it is even better.
Prior to the opening bell today, we see both 3M (MMM - Free Report) and Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) outperform expectations, though trading in different directions is early trading: 3M +2% and Pfizer -2%. Harley-Davidson (HOG - Free Report) , with concerns regarding an aging “core rider” user base, broke even compared to expectations. Shares are -8.4% at this hour.