Equities In Retreat, GDP Growth In Danger, Fed Downplays Rate-Cut OutlookEquities retreat following a surprise pullback in U.S. markets on Thursday. The risk of a coronavirus-driven market correction grow daily.
The U.S. Futures Are Moving Lower
The U.S. futures are indicating a mildly lower open on Friday. The move comes a day after U.S. equity markets experienced an unexpected and deep intraday pullback. The pullback, most likely caused by a growing fear of the coronavirus, countered a new all-time high in the broad market and threatens to spark a deeper correction. The number of deaths in China has risen in the last 24 hours and signs are emerging the virus is still spreading. China now reports outbreaks within its prison system while South Korea says its confirmed cases are spiking.
Traders are becoming more and more concerned about 1Q GDP and EPS growth. The consensus is the virus will hold GDP growth at 0.0% for the 1st quarter and that will assuredly have an impact on Q1 EPS growth. Looking at the Chinese data, sales of autos fell more than 92% in the first two weeks of February signaling the impact on economic activity could be quite severe. The good news is that, once the epidemic has passed, GDP and EPS growth are expected to rebound.
Wall Street Is Still Bullish On Domestic Equities
In corporate news, earnings and upgrades are the news of the day. On the earnings front, Deere & Co, First Solar, and Dropbox are the big movers of the day. Deere & Co reported better than expected top and bottom-line results that pleased investors. The news was accompanied by a favorable outlook for the U.S. farming market that has shares up 10.5% in premarket action. Shares of Dropbox are also moving higher, up 12.5%, after it reported better than expected results. The file-sharing company also raised guidance and initiated a share buyback program.
Shares of Chewy got a boost this morning when analysts at RBC upped their rating on the stock. According to them, Chewy has highly favorable risk-reward profile based on revenue and margin expansions. At the other end of the spectrum, shares of First Solar are moving lower following its weaker than expected report and unfavorable guidance. In other news, shares of Coca Cola are holding flat after the company warned Q1 EPS could be hurt as much as $0.02 per share due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Flash PMI And Existing Home Sales Due Out Late In The Morning
Flash PMI readings and Existing Home Sales data are due out later in the morning. The PMI, both manufacturing and services, are expected to hold steady if not advance from the last month. Readings on activity in NY and Philadelphia were both much hotter than expected earlier this week. On the housing front, existing home sales are expected to fall slightly from the previous month but remain above 5 million annualized units.