Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Business

Wall Street set to inch higher on retail optimism

By Ambar Warrick and Devik Jain

(Reuters) -Wall Street indexes were set to open slightly higher on Tuesday as a strong holiday forecast from Walmart and a better-than-expected retail sales data boosted confidence in an economic recovery.

With Americans starting their holiday shopping early to avoid empty shelves amid supply chain disruptions, retail sales rose more than expected in October, giving the economy a lift at the start of the fourth quarter.

Walmart, the country’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, raised its annual sales and profit forecasts. But shares fell 0.4% in premarket trading as supply chain woes hit its third-quarter margins.

Retailer Home Depot Inc rose 1.3% after beating quarterly same-store sales estimates, helped by strong demand for tools and materials from builders and handymen working on housing projects.

“Earnings today were pretty strong and that is surprising given anecdotal evidence of how much people are spending money and trying to save money at the same time,” said George Young, a portfolio manager at Villere & Co.

“There’s a huge pent up demand because for so long and so many restrictions, people were not be able to buy what they want to buy.”

Gains in futures, however, were tempered by comments from Federal Reserve member James Bullard on the chances of an early interest rate hike by the central bank in 2022.

Wall Street indexes had ended Monday largely flat as concerns over inflation drove up Treasury yields and weighed down major technology firms.

Investors have also been fretting over President Joe Biden’s pick for Federal Reserve chair as Chair Jerome Powell’s term is set to end in February 2022.

Wall Street has been trading mixed over the past few days due to concerns over rising inflation and the prospect of slowing economic growth. Analysts at major Wall Street banks have also grown somewhat lukewarm on the S&P 500’s prospects in 2022.

However, a Bank of America survey showed investors were keen on ending 2021 in a risk-on mood.

At 8:57 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 66 points, or 0.18%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 1 points, or 0.02% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 11.5 points, or 0.07%.

U.S.-listed Chinese stocks and other China-exposed sectors rose on optimism over talks between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Electric-car maker Tesla Inc slipped 0.4% after CEO Elon Musk sold $930 million in shares to meet tax withholding obligations related to the exercise of stock options.

The stock has lost nearly 13% after Musk polled Twitter users about selling 10% of his stake. A majority of users voted in favor of the sale. JPMorgan Chase & Co also sued Tesla for $162.2 million over a breach of contract related to stock warrants.

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Arun Koyyur)

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