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Stock Market Today: Dow Jones, S&P 500 Tumbles Today; Activision Soars On Microsoft Acquisition; Goldman Sachs Dips On Profit Miss

The market extends losses today as short and long bond yields rise to the highest since February 2020.
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Stock Market Today Mid-Morning Updates

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down by 500 points after Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) reported disappointing earnings and as government bond yields hit coronavirus-era highs. This comes after the markets were closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Also, U.S. and international oil prices hit a seven-year high on Tuesday as possible supply disruption came into play after attacks in the Mideast Gulf added to an already tight supply outlook. The United Arab Emirates vowed to retaliate against Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group for Monday’s deadly attack on its capital Abu Dhabi.

Brent and WTI jump over $1/barrel to the highest since October 2014. Goldman Sachs analysts say that they expect oil inventories in OECD countries to fall to their lowest since 2000 by the summer, with Brent oil prices rising to $100 later this year. Oil producers like Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) are up 1.24% and 1.30% respectively today.

Among the Dow Jones leaders, shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) are down by 0.70% today while Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is also down by 1.39%. Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Nike (NYSE: NKE) are down 2.68% and 1.36% respectively on Tuesday. Also, among the Dow 30, financial leaders like Visa (NYSE: V) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) are trading mixed.

Shares of electric vehicle (EV) leader Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) are down 2.56% on Tuesday. Rival EV companies like Rivian (NASDAQ: RIVN) and Lucid Group (NASDAQ: LCID) are also down by 5.71% and 6.21% today. Chinese EV leaders like Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI) and Xpeng Motors (NYSE: XPEV) are trading higher at 0.85% and 3.82% respectively.

Dow Jones Today: Treasury Yields Hit Pandemic-era Highs

Following the stock market opening on Tuesday, the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq are trading 1.40%, 1.49%, and 1.92% lower. Among exchange-traded funds, the Nasdaq 100 tracker Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) opened lower at 1.63% Tuesday, while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA: SPY) is down by 1.31%.

Today, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was trading at 1.825%, coming off intraday highs of over 1.85%. Also, the 2-year rate which reflects short-term interest rate expectations topped 1% for the first time since February 2020. Notably, this is a month before the coronavirus pandemic sent the U.S. economy into a recession.

This rise comes as investors are preparing for potentially more aggressive policy by the Federal Reserve to control rising inflation. Furthermore, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told the U.S. Senate last week that he expects to see a series of interest rate hikes this year, along with the easing of other pandemic economic support measures. Some analysts expect that the Feds could hike rates as many as seven times this year. Could the reality be that the market is still adjusting to the Fed’s hawkish statements, given how the markets have started off to a bumpy year so far?

[Read More] Best Lithium Battery Stocks To Buy Now? 4 To Know

Homebuilder Confidence Drops For the First Time In Four Months

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), builder confidence fell one point to 83 in January. Builders in the single-family housing market are facing growing expenses, which is causing a turnaround in sentiment to the start of the year. This comes as higher material costs and lack of availability are adding weeks to typical single-family construction times. For instance, the price of softwood lumber alone has jumped by over 80% in the past three months. Coupled with labor shortages and higher mortgage rates could point to declines in housing affordability in 2022.

Microsoft Set To Acquire Activision Via $68.7 Billion All-Cash Agreement

Among the latest gargantuan deals in the consumer tech space today would be the one between Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI). Notably, Microsoft is acquiring Activision for a whopping $68.7 billion in cash. Through this agreement, Microsoft would be buying one of, if not the most famous game franchise globally, Call of Duty. As a result of this immense play between the two gaming industry titans, ATVI stock is now surging by 29% as of today’s opening bell. Regardless, the real question now is how this move benefits Microsoft in the long run.

In detail, Activision will be reporting to Microsoft’s Xbox head Phil Spencer once the acquisition is done. By Microsoft’s estimates, the current deal could close by its fiscal 2023 year. If anything, the acquisition serves to significantly grow Microsoft’s already booming gaming division. In fact, it will emerge as the third-largest gaming company by revenue after completing the purchase. After considering Microsoft’s push in the gaming space over the past few years, this is not all that surprising. Its two largest buys before this would be Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5 billion back in 2014 and Bethesda for $7.5 billion last year. As such, the $68.7 billion buy would overshadow show that Microsoft means business on this front.

Commenting on all this is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Namely, Nadella highlights the flexibility of the gaming industry as it spans across platforms of entertainment today. Additionally, he also notes that the acquisition “will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms.” While MSFT stock may be trading lower by 1.04%, some investors could see long-term growth potential from this deal.

ATVI stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

[Read More] Best Monthly Dividend Stocks To Buy Now? 5 For Your List

Goldman Sachs Shares Dive On Quarterly Profit Miss

Elsewhere, Goldman Sachs is singing a similar tune to its banking industry peers on the earnings front. Diving right in, the firm posted an earnings per share of $10.81, missing estimates of $11.76. Also, Goldman Sachs raked in a total revenue of $12.64 billion for the quarter, above consensus forecasts of $12.08 billion. By and large, a key metric investors are likely focusing on is the company’s equities desk revenue. The likes of which came in at $300 million below the $2.43 billion estimate.

Providing insight into the bank’s full-year performance is CEO David Soloman. He says, “2021 was a record year for Goldman Sachs. The firm’s extraordinary performance is a testament to the strength of our client franchise and people. Moving forward, our leadership team remains committed to growing Goldman Sachs, diversifying our businesses and delivering strong returns for shareholders.” Despite all this, GS stock is currently down by 8.22% on today’s opening bell. With the upcoming interest rate hikes in mind, GS stock could be appealing to some looking to buy on the current dips in the broader market.

GS stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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After mass shootings like Uvalde, national gun control fails – but states often loosen gun laws

After mass shootings, politicians in Washington have failed to pass new gun control legislation, despite public pressure. But laws are being passed at…

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A girl cries outside the Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. Allison Dinner/AFP via Getty Images

Calls for new gun legislation that previously failed to pass Congress are being raised again after the May 24, 2022, mass shooting at an elementary school in the small town of Uvalde, Texas.

An 18-year-old shooter killed at least 19 fourth grade students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, marking the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in a decade.

The U.S. has been here before – after shootings in Tucson, Aurora, Newtown, Charleston, Roseburg, San Bernardino, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, El Paso, Boulder, and 12 days earlier at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y.

Gun production and sales in the U.S. remain high, following a purchasing surge during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the firearms industry sold about six guns for every 100 Americans.

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut was among the Democratic politicians who pleaded for action on gun control as horrifying details of the Uvalde school shooting unfolded.

“What are we doing?” Murphy asked other lawmakers, speaking from the Senate floor on the day of the shooting. “Why are you here if not to solve a problem as existential as this?”

Congress has declined to pass significant new gun legislation after dozens of shootings, including those that occurred during periods like this one, with Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, Senate and presidency.

This response may seem puzzling given that national opinion polls reveal extensive support for several gun control policies, including expanding background checks and banning assault weapons.

In October 2021, 52% of people polled by Gallup said that they thought firearm sales laws should be made more strict.

But polls do not determine policy.

I am a professor of strategy at UCLA and have researched gun policy. With my co-authors at Harvard University, I’ve studied how gun laws change following mass shootings.

Our research on this topic finds there is legislative activity following these tragedies, but it’s at the state level.

A Democratic senator and Sandy Hook parents and teachers at a press conference in the US Capitol in 2013.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) speaks to the media as teachers, parents and residents from Newtown, Conn. – where the Sandy Hook school massacre happened – listen after a Capitol Hill hearing on Feb. 27, 2013, on the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Restrictions loosened

Stricter gun laws at the national level are more popular among Democrats than Republicans, and major new legislation would likely need votes from at least 10 Republican senators. Many of these senators represent constituencies opposed to gun control.

Despite national polls showing majority support for an assault weapons ban, not one of the 30 states with a Republican-controlled legislature has such a policy.

U.S. Texas Senator Ted Cruz said on May 24 that more gun control laws could not have prevented the Uvalde attack, explaining “that doesn’t work, it’s not effective, it doesn’t prevent crime.”

The absence of strict control policies in Republican-controlled states shows that senators crossing party lines to support gun control would be out of step with the views of voters whose support they need to win elections.

But a lack of action from Congress doesn’t mean gun laws are stagnant after mass shootings.

To examine how policy changes, we assembled data on shootings and gun legislation in the 50 states between 1990 and 2014. Overall, we identified more than 20,000 firearm bills and nearly 3,200 enacted laws. Some of these loosened gun restrictions, others tightened them, and still others did neither or both – that is, tightened in some dimensions but loosened in others.

We then compared gun laws before and after mass shootings in states where mass shootings occurred, relative to all other states.

Contrary to the view that nothing changes, state legislatures consider 15% more firearm bills the year after a mass shooting. Deadlier shootings – which receive more media attention – have larger effects.

In fact, mass shootings have a greater influence on lawmakers than other homicides, even though they account for less than 1% of gun deaths in the United States.

As impressive as this 15% increase in gun bills may sound, gun legislation can reduce gun violence only if it becomes law. And when it comes to enacting these bills into law, our research found that mass shootings do not regularly cause lawmakers to tighten gun restrictions.

In fact, we found the opposite. Republican state legislatures pass significantly more gun laws that loosen restrictions on firearms after mass shootings.

In 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a new law that eliminated a requirement for Texans to obtain a license or receive training to carry handguns. This came two years after a 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso.

That’s not to say Democrats never tighten gun laws – there are prominent examples of Democratic-controlled states passing new legislation following mass shootings.

California, for example, enacted several new gun laws following a 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino. Our research shows, however, that Democrats don’t tighten gun laws more than usual following mass shootings.

After the Buffalo shooting in early May 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that she would work to increase the age for legal gun purchasing from 18 to 21 “at a minimum.”

'Change gun laws or change Congress' reads a sign at a 2018 rally in New York City.
In August 2018, Moms Demand Action hosted a rally at New York City’s Foley Square to call upon Congress to pass gun safety laws. Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Ideology governs response

The contrasting response from Democrats and Republicans is indicative of different philosophies regarding the causes of gun violence and the best ways to reduce deaths.

While Democrats tend to view social factors as contributing to violence, Republicans are more likely to blame the individual shooters.

Cruz, for example, has said that stopping individuals with criminal records from committing violence could help prevent mass shootings.

Politicians favoring looser restrictions on guns following mass shootings frequently argue that more people carrying guns would allow law-abiding citizens to stop perpetrators.

In fact, gun sales often surge after mass shootings, in part because people fear being victimized.

Democrats, in contrast, typically focus more on trying to solve policy and societal problems that contribute to gun violence.

For both sides, mass shootings are an opportunity to propose bills consistent with their ideology.

Since we wrote our study of gun legislation following mass shootings, which covered the period through 2014, several additional tragedies have energized the gun control movement that emerged following the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. These include the May 2022 shooting at the Tops grocery store in Buffalo, as well as the Uvalde school massacre.

While President Joe Biden issued executive orders in 2021 with the goal of reducing gun violence, action in Congress remains elusive. States, meanwhile, have been more active on the issue.

Student activism following the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, did not result in congressional action but led several states to pass new gun control laws.

With more funding and better organization, this new movement is better positioned than prior gun control movements to advocate for stricter gun policies following mass shootings. Public outcry and devastation over the Uvalde shootings will likely provide fuel to this advocacy work.

But with states historically more active than Congress on the issue of guns, both advocates and opponents of new restrictions should look beyond Washington for action on gun policy.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on March 21, 2021.

Christopher Poliquin does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Economics

5 Top Consumer Stocks To Watch Right Now

Are these consumer stocks a buy amid the earnings season?
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5 Trending Consumer Stocks To Watch In The Stock Market Now         

As we tread through the earnings season, consumer stocks could be worth watching in the stock market this week. This would be the case since a number of big consumer names such as Costco (NASDAQ: COST) and Macy’s (NYSE: M) will be posting their financials for the quarter. As such, investors will be keeping an eye on these reports for clues on the strength of consumer spending amid this period of high inflation.

However, despite the soaring prices across the economy, it seems that consumers are surprisingly showing resilience. According to the Commerce Department, retail sales in April outpaced inflation for a fourth straight month. This could suggest that consumers as a whole were not only sustaining their spending, but spending more even after adjusting for inflation. Ultimately, it could be a reassuring sign that consumers are still supporting the economy and helping to diminish the narrative of an incoming recession. With that being said, here are five consumer stocks to check out in the stock market today.

Consumer Stocks To Buy [Or Sell] Right Now

Nordstrom

retail stocks (JWN stock)

Starting off our list of consumer stocks today is Nordstrom. For the most part, it is a fashion retailer of full-line luxury apparel, footwear, accessories, and cosmetics among others. The company operates through multiple retail channels, boutiques, and online as well. As it stands, Nordstrom operates around 100 stores in 32 states in the U.S. and three Canadian provinces.

Yesterday, the company reported its financials for the first quarter of 2022. Starting with revenue, Nordstrom pulled in net sales worth $3.47 million for the quarter. This marks an increase of 18.7% from the same quarter last year. Its Nordstrom banner saw net sales rise by 23.5% year-over-year, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Next to that, its Nordstrom Rack banner saw a 10.3% increase in net sales from last year. Besides, net earnings were $20 million, with earnings per share of $0.13 for the quarter. Considering Nordstrom’s solid quarter, should you invest in JWN stock?

[Read More] Best Stocks To Invest In Right Now? 5 Value Stocks To Watch This Week

The Wendy’s Company

best consumer stocks (WEN stock)

Next up, we have The Wendy’s Company. For the most part, it is the holding company for the major fast-food chain, Wendy’s. Being one of the world’s largest hamburger fast-food chains, the company boasts over 6,500 restaurants in the U.S. and 29 other countries. The chain is known for its square hamburgers, sea salt fries, and the Frosty, a form of soft-serve ice cream mixed with starches. WEN stock is rising by over 8% on today’s opening bell.

According to an SEC filing, Wendy’s largest shareholder, Trian Partners, is looking into making a potential deal with the company. Trian said that it is considering a deal to “enhance shareholder value.” Also, the firm adds that this could lead to an acquisition or business combination. In response, Wendy’s stated that it is constantly reviewing strategic priorities and opportunities. It added that the company’s board will carefully review any proposal from Trian. Given this piece of news, will you be watching WEN stock?

[Read More] 4 Semiconductor Stocks To Watch In The Stock Market Today

Foot Locker

FL stock

Another stock investors could be watching is the shoes and apparel company, Foot Locker. In brief, the company uses its omnichannel capabilities to bridge the digital world and physical stores. As such, it provides buy online and pickup-in-store services, order-in-store, as well as the growing trend of e-commerce. Some of its most notable brands include Eastbay, Footaction, Foot Locker, Champs Sports, and Sidestep. Last week, the company reported its results for the first quarter of the year.

For starters, total sales came in at $2.175 billion, a slight uptick compared to sales of $2.153 billion in the year prior. Next to that, Foot Locker reported a net income of $133 million. Accordingly, adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.60, beating Wall Street’s expectations of $1.54. CEO Richard Johnson added, “Our progress in broadening and enriching our assortment continues to meet our customers’ demand for choice. These efforts helped drive our strong results in the first quarter, which will allow us to more fully participate in the robust growth of our category going forward.”  As such, is FL stock one to add to your watchlist? 

Tyson Foods 

TSN stock

Tyson Foods is a company that built its name on providing families with wholesome and great-tasting protein products. Its segments include Beef, Pork, Chicken, and Prepared Foods. With some of the fastest-growing portfolio of protein-centric brands, it should not be surprising that TSN stock often comes to mind when investors are looking for the best consumer stocks to buy. 

Earlier this month, Tyson Foods provided its fiscal second-quarter financial update. The company’s total sales for the quarter were $13.1 billion, representing an increase of 15.9% compared to the prior year’s quarter. Meanwhile, its GAAP earnings per share climbed to $2.28, up 75% year-over-year. According to Tyson, these financial figures are a reflection of the increasing consumer demand for its brands and products. To top it off, the company was also able to reduce its total debt by approximately $1 billion. Thus, does TSN stock have a spot on your watchlist?

[Read More] Stock Market Today: Dow Jones, S&P 500 Rise, Wendy’s Stock Gains On Potential Deal

DoorDash

food delivery stocks (DASH Stock)

DoorDash is a consumer company that operates an online food ordering and delivery platform. In fact, it is one of the largest delivery companies in the U.S. and enjoys a huge market share. The company connects hundreds of thousands of merchants to over 25 million consumers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Japan through its local logistics platform. Accordingly, its platform allows local businesses to thrive in today’s “convenience economy,” as the company puts it.

On May 5, the company reported its first-quarter financials for 2022. Diving in, it posted a revenue of $1.5 billion, growing by 35% year-over-year. This was driven by total orders that grew by 23% year-over-year to $404 million. Along with that, it reported a GAAP gross profit of $662 million, an increase of 34% year-over-year. The company said that it added more consumers than any quarter since Q1 2021, due in part to the growth of its DashPass members. The growth in Monthly Active Users and average order frequency has helped it gain share in the U.S. Food Delivery category this quarter as well. Given DoorDash’s performance for the quarter, should you watch DASH stock?

If you enjoyed this article and you’re interested in learning how to trade so you can have the best chance to profit consistently then you need to checkout this YouTube channel. CLICK HERE RIGHT NOW!!

The post 5 Top Consumer Stocks To Watch Right Now appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes, Charts and Financial Information | StockMarket.com.

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Economics

Finding Shelter in an Inverse ETF

As the old saying goes, “What goes up must come down.” Indeed, up until the recent selling wave caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine and the continued…

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As the old saying goes, “What goes up must come down.”

Indeed, up until the recent selling wave caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine and the continued effects of supply chain disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, tech stocks, including semiconductors, were the darlings of the investment world. That is, it seemed as if the sky-high valuations of some tech stocks were sustainable in an atmosphere of seemingly perpetual growth.

That, of course, was not the case, and the too-good-to-be-true valuations were quickly brought down to earth by the forces of inflation and tight monetary policy. As a result, the tech-heavy Nasdaq entered a free-fall that has not yet found a bottom.

At the same time, that does not mean that we should abandon the sector as a lost cause. One such way to play the sector during its downhill slide is the exchange-traded fund (ETF) Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bear 3X Shares (NYSEARCA: SOXS).

As its title suggests, this is an inverse ETF, meaning that it is built to go up in value when its parent index goes down. Specifically, SOXS provides three times leveraged inverse exposure to a modified market-cap-weighted index of semiconductor companies that trade in American markets by using swap agreements, futures contracts and short positions.

While the index’s holdings are weighted by market capitalization, the fund’s managers cap the weights of the top five securities in the portfolio at 8% each. The weight of the remaining securities is capped at 4% each.

As of May 24, SOXS has been up 0.37% over the past month and up 24.73% for the past three months. It is currently up 60.47% year to date.

Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

The fund has amassed $258.15 million in assets under management and has an expense ratio of 1.01%.

In short, while SOXS does provide an investor with a way to invest in an inverse ETF, this kind of ETF may not be appropriate for all portfolios. Thus, interested investors always should conduct their due diligence and decide whether the fund is suitable for their investing goals.

As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an email. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.

The post Finding Shelter in an Inverse ETF appeared first on Stock Investor.

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