Premarket: 6 things to know before the bell
Thu Sep 27 2018
Mark Cooper (2755 articles)

Premarket: 6 things to know before the bell

1. Fed aftermath: A decision by the US Federal Reserve to increase interest rates for the third time this year has produced a cautious reaction from investors.
The rate hike on Wednesday was a sign of increased confidence in the US economy. Unemployment is low, economic growth is strong, and inflation is relatively stable.

Fed policymakers led by Chairman Jerome Powell unanimously agreed to raise the federal funds rate a quarter percentage point, to a range of 2% to 2.25%.

Investors reacted by pushing the Dow Jones industrial average down 0.4%. The S&P 500 dropped 0.3% and the Nasdaq slipped 0.2%.

Bank stocks were particularly hard hit. Shares in Wells Fargo (WFC), Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) shed nearly 2%.

2. H&M shines online: Swedish fashion retailer H&M (HMRZF) reported a big improvement in online sales in its third quarter, a crucial metric for traditional retailers that face competition from online giants like Amazon (AMZN).

H&M said its sales overall rose 9% in the quarter, while online sales jumped 32%. Shares in the company shot up 10% in Stockholm.

Profits slid more than expected, however. H&M blamed the weakness on problems with a new logistics system in some of its biggest markets.

3. Facebook spat: WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton has harshly criticized Facebook over its approach to privacy.

Acton said in an interview with Forbes that he was unhappy with Facebook (FB)’s approach to monetizing WhatsApp. “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day,” he said in the interview.

The Acton interview comes just days after Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced they will leave the company. Reports suggest they too had disagreements with Zuckerberg over the direction of their app.

WhatsApp and Instagram are among Facebook’s most high profile acquisitions.

4. Global market overview: US stock futures were mixed.

European markets were opened mostly higher, while stocks in Asia ended lower. US oil futures gained 1.3%.

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5. Earnings and economics: Carnival (CCL), McCormick (MKC), Rite Aid (RAD) and Scholastic Corp (SCHL) will release earnings before the open.

The US Bureau of Economic Analysis will release its final reading on economic growth in the second quarter. The previous estimate showed a growth rate of 4.2%

The euro was trading 0.5% lower against the dollar as Italy’s populist government prepared to unveil its budget proposal. The plan spark a major conflict with the European Commission, which insists on eurozone countries keeping their deficit at 3% of GDP or less.

The International Monetary Fund announced Wednesday it will increase the size of Argentina’s bailout to $ 57.4 billion through 2021.

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6. Coming this week:
Thursday — Rite Aid, Carnival and Accenture earnings; final revision of US second-quarter GDP
Friday — End of Q3

Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper is Political / Stock Market Correspondent. He has been covering Global Stock Markets for more than 6 years.