Stock futures hovered in mixed trade Friday as blue chips and small caps gained, while much of the market flattened ahead of Labor Department inflation data. On the Dow Jones today, Apple and Microsoft moved lower after leading the index’s gains through Thursday, and Honeywell jumped on a price target hike.
Dow Jones futures edged up 0.3%, S&P 500 futures added 0,2%, with both indexes eying new highs. Nasdaq 100 futures sifted narrowly lower on the stock market today. Small caps ran ahead of the premarket action, with Russell 2000 futures up 0.8%.
Floor & Decor (FND) traded high on the IBD 50 list, up more than 1% in early trade. The retailer clocked a 3.9% gain for the week through Thursday, leaving it 6% below a 108.74 buy point. IBD Leaderboard stock Boston Beer (SAM) edged up 0.7%, rising in a buy range that runs through 1,298.50.
China-based stocks were under some early pressure, with JD.com (JD) and Baidu (BIDU) trading at the bottom of the Nasdaq 100. However, Sohu.com (SOHU) spiked 13%, with no immediate news to explain the move.
Honeywell Leads Dow Jones Today
Honeywell (HON) set up an early lead on the Dow Jones today, rising 1.2% after JPMorgan raised the stock’s price target to 250, from 200 and held its overweight rating. The note cited a strong outlook for the company over the next four years, commenting on the strength of its balance sheet (“best in class”) and naming the diversified manufacturer the analyst’s top pick in the sector.
Deutsche Bank upgraded Honeywell from hold to buy on Thursday, with a 244 price target.
Honeywell is technically in a buy range through 227.64. Shares hold a weak Composite Rating of 12.
March PPI Data
The Labor Department delivers some potentially market-moving numbers, with its March Producer Price Index, at 8:30 a.m. ET. The rise in bond yields, and corresponding concerns over inflation, have focused increased attention on the PPI, which tracks the prices producers receive for their products.
The gauge jumped 2.8% year-over-year in February. Consensus views points to a 3.8% surge for March.
Overseas Markets: Inflation Data Hits China
Global market action was mixed on Friday, with China’s markets having a tough day after official inflation data showed factory prices rising at their fastest pace in more than 2.5 years. Benchmarks in Shanghai and Hong Kong fell about 1%, leaving both lower for the week. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 scratched out a 0.2% advance, ending the week narrowly lower.
In Europe, market action was tightly mixed near midday. The CAC-40 in Paris paced the region, with a 0.2% gain. Benchmarks in London, Frankfurt and Paris are all trading higher for the holiday-shortened week.
Vital Signs: Bond Yields Bounce, Bitcoin Climbs
Crude oil prices, a key indicator of recovering economic activity, were steady with West Texas Intermediate around the $60 per barrel level, where it has traded since mid-March. Copper futures were also well-behaved, near $4.07 a pound, down 0.4% on Friday and below February’s high at $4.30. Gold eased to $1,745 an ounce, was up about 0.5% for the week but backed off of Thursday’s high around $1,756.
Bonds backed off after a three-day advance, sending the 10-year yield back above 1.67%. Yields settled at 1.63% on Wednesday, according to CBOE data, down from Monday’s intraday high above 1.74%.
Bitcoin jumped 3%, to near $59,000, according to CoinDesk. The cryptocurrency climbed to a record high at $61,556 on March 13. Competing cryptocurrency Ethereum rose almost 5%, to just above $2,000. Ethereum touched a new record high above $2,151 on Monday night.
Nasdaq ETFs Approach Buy Points
The Nasdaq Composite gained 2.6% for the week through Thursday, ending the session 2.5% off the index’s record high from mid-February. The Nasdaq 100 is within 1% of its record.
Among Nasdaq 100 tracking ETFs, the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) rallied 3.2% so far this week, finishing Thursday less than 1% below a 338.29 buy point in an eight-week cup base. Leveraged tracker ProShares UltraPro QQQ (TQQQ) had a 9.9% gain for the week, closing a bit more than 6% below a buy point at 111.96.
Dow Jones Today: A Strong Week For Apple, Microsoft
The Dow Jones today is staring down another new high, after clocking a 1.1% gain for the week through Thursday. That puts the benchmark on track for its third straight weekly advance, trading up 9.5% since the start of the year.
Apple and MicrosoftMSFT have led the Dow’s gains for the week, rising 6% and 4.5%, respectively. For Apple, that gain included a decisive reclaiming of support at its 50-day/10-week moving average.
The stock remains deep in an 11-week basing project. But the move back above critical support, at around 126, provided an early buying opportunity for aggressive investors. If you were to treat that entry as an actual buy point, shares would remain in a 5% buy zone through around 132.30.
Microsoft, an IBD Leaderboard stock, broke out on Monday past a flat base buy point at 246.23. It remains in a buy range through 258.54.
Find Alan R. Elliott on Twitter @IBD_Aelliott
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