U.S. stocks posted modest gains last week with all three major indices gaining less than 1.0% despite a strong showing on corporate earnings and improving retail sales data.
Out of 49 S&P 500 companies reporting last week, 86% topped Wall Street’s expectations. Last week’s retail sales report also showed a broad rebound that topped forecasts.
However, political turmoil and underwhelming jobless claims data weighed on the market. Investors seem to be locked into the stimulus negotiations in D.C., and talks between Congress and the White House are still at an impasse.
Expect to see a similar theme carry into this week’s trading action.
Asian stocks were mixed overnight. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Composite rallied 0.6%, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.1%.
Europe markets are mostly higher today. The British FTSE 100 is down slightly as parts of the country face more lockdowns. Meanwhile, the Eurozone Stoxx 600 is up 0.3%.
U.S. futures are pointing towards a higher open today, with S&P 500 contracts currently up 0.9%.
Today’s earnings docket includes reports from Halliburton [HAL], Philips [PHG], and Lennox [LII] before the bell.
After the close, we’ll hear from Logitech [LOGI], IBM [IBM], and PPG [PPG].
Here are this morning’s most active stocks:
Microchip Technology [MCHP]
Microchip technology is one of the most active large-cap stocks this morning thanks to a bullish note from analysts at Morgan Stanley [MS]. Morgan Stanley upgraded MCHP to an ‘outperform’ rating and raised its price target on the stock from $102 to $131, indicating a potential upside of roughly 18%.
Several other firms have also issued upgrades for MCHP recently, and a number of large stakeholders have increased their positions in the company as of late, including the IBM Retirement Fund and Atlantic Union Bankshares Corp.
MCHP is leading the NASDAQ 100 with a 3.0% gain on the news.
AbbVie Inc [ABBV]
Abbvie’s Venclexta received full regulatory approval in three combinations for blood cancer patients aged 75 and up. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued its full approval for the drug to be used in combination with azacitidine, or decitabine, or low-dose cytarabine as treatment for patients aged at least 75 and newly diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer.
Abbvie says the FDA approved the drug based on Phase-3 VIale-A and Viale-C studies, along with updated data from previous studies.
Shares of ABBV were up about 0.5% in the pre-market on the news.
Midatech Pharma PLC [MTP]
This micro-cap pharma stock is rallying after the firm released upbeat headline data from a recent Phase-1 study. The small-scale study examined Midatech’s MTX110 therapy as a treatment for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (“DIPG”).
Median overall survival state seemed to show a significant improvement over baselines. However, the company noted in a 6-K filing that survival rate was not the study’s primary endpoint, so it stopped short of drawing firm conclusions on the data. Instead, the company says it plans to move forward with Phase-2 trials.
The jury is still out on MTX110, but the Phase-1 data looks promising. MTP is trading actively on the news with gains of 36.5%.
Hertz Holding Co. [HTZ]
Hertz is on the rise again today thanks to a new finance deal from its lenders. The deal is expected to help the company avoid bankruptcy after regulators shot-down the company’s original plan to raise funds through a secondary offering of common stock.
Shareholders may feel more confident now that lenders are willing to put more of their money on the line. Shares of HTZ rallied more than 150% on Friday and the momentum is carrying through into this week’s trading action.
HTZ is the most active stock in the pre-market and it’s currently posting gains of 10.0%.