Market Preview: Markets Remain Positive on Trade Talks and a Benevolent Fed

Markets maintained their positive demeanor Wednesday, with oil up over 5% and minutes from the latests Federal Reserve meeting showing the Fed is willing to take a measured and patient approach to raising interest rates this year. While it was another up and down day, the major averages all finished in the green. News from the ongoing U.S./China trade talks was also encouraging with reports that both sides are making progress toward a resolution of the tariff war. Some analysts are pointing to the recent economic decline in China as an indicator that the country is under pressure to get a deal done even on less than favorable terms.

On the negative side of the ledger, it appears the partial government shutdown in D.C. may go on for an extended time. An address by the President Tuesday night, followed by a rebuttal from Democratic leaders, showed the parties no closer to a resolution than when the shutdown began. The public appeals were followed by a face-to-face meeting today which apparently ended with the President walking out and proclaiming the meeting a “waste of time”. January 15th will be the first day on which an additional round of government employees will not receive pay, adding to the growing impact of the shutdown.

Synnex Corporation (SNX) and FuelCell Energy (FCEL) report earnings Thursday. Synnex, an IT supply chain services company, has made a habit of falling after earnings announcements the past few quarters. But, the stock appears to have put in a solid support level around $75 the past few months. The company is expected to report $3.08 per share on Thursday, or an increase of 10.4% year-over-year on revenue of $5.4 billion. FuelCell Energy is expected to lose $.17 per share when it reports after the close Thursday. FCEL has dropped over 70% since last January and currently trades at less than $1.

Jobless claims will be released Thursday morning and are expected to come in at 224K. The claims number has been leveling off after touching a recent bottom in September 2018. Wholesale trade numbers, scheduled to be released Thursday, may be delayed due to the government shutdown, but they are expected to rise .4%. The inventory increase would be on par with growth in wholesale sales numbers reported earlier. Fed Chairman Powell is scheduled take part in discussions at the Economic Club of Washington at 12:45 pm. The Chairman’s remarks have given the market reason to rally the past week.

Due to declining oil prices at the end of 2018 the CPI is expected to drop between .1 and .2 percentage points for December when it is released Friday. Year-over-year numbers are projected to rise 1.9%. Falling housing prices have been partially offset by rising medical costs to keep the index elevated. The index has been relatively flat since May of 2018.

Infosys Limited (INFY) will report earnings before the open Friday. India based Infosys is expected to report flat operating margins as it has been spending heavily on upgrading its digital capabilities. Analysts will be focused on revenue growth and are looking for a possible announcement of a buyback of company shares.

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