1. — Stock Futures Turn Higher as Wall Street Aims for More Records
U.S. stock futures turned higher Friday, following the all-time Wall Street highs that were set in the previous session after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. and China would sign their “phase one” trade agreement in early January.
Also Thursday the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill that puts in place terms of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“We are going to get an excess 50 basis points of additional growth in GDP as a result of this (USMCA). People who said this is just the NAFTA 2.0 just don’t understand the
technicality of this agreement,” Mnuchin told CNBC.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 22 points, futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.80 points and Nasdaq futures rose 6.25 points.
The three major indexes set closing records Thursday even after the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
The Dow finished up 137 points, or 0.49%, to 28,376.96, the S&P 500 rose 0.45% to 3,205.37, and the Nasdaq rose 0.67% to 8,887.22. The Nasdaq has risen for seven straight sessions.
2. — GDP and Consumer Sentiment Are Highlights of Friday’s Calendar
The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes the third estimate for third-quarter GDP. Economists expect GDP to rise 2.1%, unchanged from the second estimate.
The calendar also includes Personal Income and Outlays for November at 10 a.m. and Consumer Sentiment for December at 10 a.m.
Earnings reports are expected Friday from CarMax (KMX) – Get Report and Winnebago Industries (WGO) – Get Report.
3. — Nike Slides as Gross Margins Come in Light, North America Sales Disappoint
Nike (NKE) – Get Report fell in premarket trading Friday after the maker of athletic apparel and sports equipment posted stronger-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue but gross margins a bit narrower than analysts had expected.
Nike reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share, up from 52 cents in the year-earlier quarter. Analysts were expecting the company to report profit of 58 cents a share. Revenue advanced 10% to $10.32 billion vs. the estimate of $10.09 billion.
Gross margin fattened by 0.2 a percentage point to 44%, while analysts were expecting expansion of 0.25 a point. The company said its margin expansion efforts were hurt “primarily due to incremental tariffs in North America.”
Over the past five years, Nike has reported double-digit sales growth in China, but there were concerns that trade tensions between the U.S. and China would weigh on the company’s performance.
Nike reported 20% revenue growth in China to $1.8 billion, led by $1.2 billion in footwear.
North America and Europe remained the company’s biggest markets, accounting for $3.98 billion and $2.53 billion of sales in the quarter, respectively. Nike’s revenue from North America, however, missed Wall Street’s expectations of $4 billion.
The stock fell 1.42% to $99.71 in premarket trading. Nike shares hit an all-time high in regular trading Thursday, closing at $101.15.
4. — Wawa Discloses a Massive Data Breach
Privately held Wawa said Thursday that malware in its computer systems left customer credit card data exposed for nine months until the breach was discovered about a week ago.
In a letter to customers, Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens said the company “discovered malware on Wawa payment processing servers on Dec. 10, 2019, and contained it by Dec. 12, 2019. This malware affected customer payment card information used at potentially all Wawa locations beginning at different points in time after March 4, 2019, and until it was contained.”
Wawa operates a chain of more than 850 convenience stores along the East Coast.
The malware ”affected payment card information, including credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, and cardholder names on payment cards used at potentially all Wawa in-store payment terminals and fuel dispensers,” according to the letter.
The company said it has arranged for credit monitoring firm Experian “to provide potentially impacted customers with one year of identity theft protection and credit monitoring.”
5. — ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Hits Theaters
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” – the final installment in the nine-part film series – has opened in theaters and the majority of reviews have been negative.
The Associated Press called the movie a “scattershot, impatiently paced, fan-servicing finale” while the film, directed by J.J. Abrams, was called “completely manic” by the Atlantic and The New York Times said “Skywalker” isn’t a “great ‘Star Wars’ movie, but that may be because there is no such thing.”
Despite the negative reviews, the film is expected to rack up about $200 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend.
Walt Disney’s (DIS) – Get Report Lucasfilm produced the movie.
Walt Disney is a holding in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells the stock? Learn more now.