Mar 29, 2022 (StockMarket.com via COMTEX) -- Stock Market Futures Extend Gains Ahead Of Consumer Confidence Data
U.S. stock futures are in the green going into Tuesday's trading session this week. This follows a somewhat volatile trading session with the broader stock market ending at six-week highs. Worth mentioning, tech stocks made a significant comeback before yesterday's closing bell. For today, investors will likely be looking out for the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index update. As it stands, consensus forecasts point towards a month-over-month decrease to 107.0 from February's 110.5 reading. Should this be the case, it would suggest that consumer concerns over rising inflation would outweigh the current strength in labor markets.
Chiming in on all this is FWDBONDS chief economist Christopher Rupkey. He writes, "Usually consumers fret about job opportunities and the lack thereof, but this time, the consumer is in sync with Fed officials that the greatest danger the economy faces is inflation." In turn, Rupkey warns "Consumers continue to spend, but future consumption is very much in doubt as the cost of store-bought goods soars ever higher." With all these factors in play, there is certainly no shortage of excitement in the stock market today. As of 6:31 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading higher by 0.38%, 0.35%, and 0.28% respectively.
QuantumScape In The Spotlight After Reports Of Potential Volkswagen Team-Up
Turning heads in the stock market today is QuantumScape ( NYSE: QS ). In brief, the company conducts research on solid-state lithium metal batteries. The likes of which act as vital components in the electric vehicles (EVs) of today. Because of this, QuantumScape would be a considerable player to consider in the booming EV tech space now. For today, this seems to be the case as QS stock is gaining in the stock market following an interesting report. Namely, a German monthly magazine, Manager Magazin, suggests that QuantumScape could be partnering up with Volkswagen ( OTCMKTS: VWAGY ). With news of a potential collaboration with this automotive goliath, investors are understandably keen on QS stock now.
According to the news outlet, Volkswagen's Porsche brand is looking to make an electric version of its 911 sports car. In doing so, the company is reportedly working with QuantumScape to secure its solid-state battery supply. Sure, neither firms have confirmed nor denied the claims yet. However, seeing as Volkswagen is among the notable investors in QuantumScape, such a team-up would not be that surprising. Not to mention, Porsche is also working towards making 50% of it sales EVs. With all this in mind, QS stock could be worth looking out for today.
Jefferies Gains After Solid Earnings Report; Declares $0.30 Dividend And New $250 Million Share Buyback Program
In other news, Jefferies Financial Group ( NYSE: JEF ) is making headlines today thanks to its latest quarterly release. Notably, the financial services firm posted stellar figures across the board in its latest financial update. After yesterday's closing bell, Jefferies posted an earnings per share of $1.23 alongside revenue of $1.73 billion for the quarter. For reference, this is versus Wall Street's estimates of $0.80 and $1.55 billion. Despite market volatility, the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war, and less-than-ideal monetary policy, Jefferies still beat expectations.
Speaking on the company's commendable results is CEO Richard Handler. He notes, "Our strong first-quarter results reflect the breadth and depth of our platform, despite the challenging trading environment caused by the anticipated change in Fed policy that existed in December and January and exacerbated by the even more difficult capital markets conditions that began in February with the onset of the invasion of Ukraine. Despite the change in market tone, the performance in our Investment Banking business continues to reflect our increased market share, as continued momentum in our Advisory business led our results, with an increase of 75% over the prior year comparable quarter." With its current momentum, the current upswing in JEF stock would make sense.
If all that wasn't enough, the company's board is also authorizing a $0.30 per share dividend and a $250 million stock repurchase plan. With the company seemingly keen on returning value to its shareholders, JEF stock could be all the more attractive for some now.
Bitcoin Looks To Shake Off Year-To-Date Losses Following Regulatory Momentum
Meanwhile, the crypto industry also appears to be finding its footing again now. Evidently, Bitcoin (BTC) is trading towards a year-to-date gain in the stock market now. Momentarily, the leading cryptocurrency exceeded the $48,000 mark yesterday as regulatory talk in Britain grew louder. According to CNBC sources, British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak could be announcing a new regulatory stance for crypto soon. Among the key focuses in the report are potential announcements regarding stablecoins. These are digital assets that attain value from existing fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar and the British pound.
Furthermore, the adoption of cryptocurrency in general among financial institutions is steadily on the rise as well. As of last week, Goldman Sachs ( NYSE: GS ) now officially trades crypto over the counter. At the same time, Coinbase Global ( NASDAQ: COIN ), one of the largest crypto exchange platforms, is also making moves. In brief, Coinbase is in talks to acquire 2TM, the owner of Mercado Bitcoin, the largest crypto exchange in Brazil. This information is courtesy of a local media outlet and suggests that we could see an agreement by as early as late April 2022. Mercado Bitcoin has a customer base of over 3.2 million users and saw trading volumes of $7.1 billion throughout 2021. As a result of all this, crypto investors would be tuning in to COIN stock now.
[Read More] Top Dividend Stocks To Buy Today? 5 In Focus
DoorDash Collaborates With BJ's Wholesale Club To Deliver On-Demand Groceries
Elsewhere, the likes of DoorDash ( NYSE: DASH ) and BJ's Wholesale Club ( NYSE: BJ ) are teaming up. Through the current collaboration, the duo are offering consumers on-demand grocery delivery services. According to BJ's, this service will be available from 226 locations across 17 states. More importantly, this deal would also make BJ's the first wholesale club available on the DoorDash marketplace. Also, this will be available to both members and non-members of BJ's wholesale club. The main difference would be that BJ's cardholders have access to special member-only pricing. To put things into perspective, thousands of BJ's items are now available to consumers on-demand.
All in all, this move would serve to benefit both DoorDash and BJ's. Arguably, consumers have and continue to rely on such conveniences even as pandemic conditions improve. By doubling down on this new digital strategy, both firms could, ideally, expand their total addressable markets as well. On one hand, DoorDash would have a much wider scope of items on its platform. On the other hand, BJ's could see new memberships spawn from the current arrangement. Not forgetting, BJ's is also now offering same-day delivery services via DoorDash Drive. Because of all this, investors may be considering DASH stock and BJ stock today.
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