Stock Market Futures Inch Higher Going Into New Quarter
U.S. stock futures are in the green heading into the first trading day of the quarter. These gains come as investors look ahead to the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report due today. For now, consensus estimates point towards a rise of 490,000 for March. Should this be the case, it would indicate a slowdown from February’s non-farm payroll increase of 678,000. However, current forecasts for the unemployment rate are looking at a decrease to 3.7%. This would be its lowest level since February 2020.
Also, with April being a historically good month for stocks, investors could be more optimistic going into the current quarter. Speaking on this is Robert Cantwell, the portfolio manager over at Upholdings. He writes, “I think investors are very happy that the quarter is over. It was a tough one. Obviously inflation was bad all the way until … the end of the quarter.” For the current quarter, Cantwell expects things to really pick up in the second half of the quarter. The analyst argues, “you could see a scenario where growth rates start accelerating again while inflation tempers, and that has the potential to bring a lot of the bulls back into the market.”
For the meanwhile, investors could likely be taking a more passive approach as they await further information on the economy. As of 6:40 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading lower by 0.46%, 0.47%, and 0.53% respectively.
GameStop Stock Jumps After Revealing Plans For Stock Split
Amidst all the volatility in stocks these days, GameStop (NYSE: GME) appears to be making a splash. The company is in the news today thanks to its latest announcement. Diving in, the video game retailer is planning to implement a stock split. GameStop aims to seek shareholder approval at its next shareholder meeting for the move. For now, the company is planning to increase the number of Class A common stock from 300,000,000 to 1,000,000,000. As a result, GME stock is rising by over 15% in pre-market trading today.
In detail, GameStop has not provided precise information regarding how much of the increased share count would be used for the stock split. According to the regulatory filing, the company could use part of the split for other means. For now, a possibility would be for selling more stock. Overall, GameStop notes that the authorization would serve to “provide flexibility for future corporate needs.” Regardless, all this is contingent on final approval from the GameStop board. For one thing, this announcement would keep GME stock’s momentum going into the current quarter.
Not to mention, GameStop chairman Ryan Cohen also bought another 100,000 shares earlier last month. This would bring his stake in the company up to 11.9%. Following these pieces of news, GME stock is now up by over 35% in the past month. Pair this with the current attention meme stocks are receiving and we could be looking at exciting times ahead for GME stock.
Amazon Extends Prime Credit Card Partnership With JPMorgan Chase
Elsewhere, e-commerce goliath Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is reportedly maintaining its current partnership with JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM). Simply put, Amazon is renewing its Prime credit card deal with the bank. What this means is that JPM will continue to issue the tech giant’s flagship rewards credit card. This would be after several months of negotiations with other financial services firms. Among the companies that Amazon considered before this would be American Express (NYSE: AXP). At the same time, reports also suggest that the likes of Mastercard (NYSE: MA) were making a bid at Visa’s (NYSE: V) role as Amazon’s payment network operator.
Notably, the Amazon Prime Rewards card is one of, if not the most lucrative co-brand deals in the market now. For a sense of scale, Amazon currently has about 150 million U.S. members on its Prime network now. This would be a massive win for JPMorgan as it has been the issuer of Amazon’s card over the past two decades. Following this update, things will likely remain the same for users of the Amazon Prime Rewards card. This consists of a 5% cashback on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. Additionally, the 2% cashback from selected restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores will also be maintained. With this news in mind, investors could be considering JPM stock now amongst its fintech peers.
Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel On Summer Travel Demand
In other news, Booking Holdings (NASDAQ: BKNG) CEO Glenn Fogel provided a positive update on the travel scene today. In an interview with CNBC, Fogel highlights that summer travel demand remains strong despite rising prices. The CEO says, “prices can be really high and people are saying, ‘I don’t care. I just want to travel.” This would be surprising seeing as consumer retail spending is seemingly decelerating. Evidently, U.S. retail sales dipped by 3.7% in February. Despite all of this, as Fogel mentions, pent-up demand for travel seems to have consumers willing to go the extra mile now.
In the meantime, the CEO does see a continuous rise in travel-related prices as inflation continues to skyrocket. Furthermore, Fogel also mentions that rising fuel costs are also weighing in on the travel industry as well. This would be due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine straining global energy supplies. For now, Booking Holdings is expecting strong international travel figures this summer. However, the company does note that there will likely be regional differences. Fogel points out that travel operations in Asia will recover slower than in areas such as Western Europe. After considering all of this, investors may be looking toward the top travel stocks in the market now.
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Cannabis Stocks In Focus As MORE Bill Heads To House Floor For Vote
Marijuana stocks could also be worth tuning into in the stock market today. This would be thanks to the current momentum the industry is seeing on the regulatory front. Namely, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act is now heading towards the House Floor. This follows clearance from the House Rules Committee yesterday. As it stands, Cowen (NASDAQ: COWN) analyst Jaret Seiberg posits that the voting could happen as soon as later today.
For those uninitiated, the MORE Act serves to remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances. Moreover, it also has a core focus on promoting social equity once the substance is legalized. In this ideal scenario, some of the top marijuana firms in the game today would stand to benefit across the board. Whether it is licensed producers from Canada or businesses operating across several states in the U.S., this would be the case. With all eyes on today’s voting sessions, investors may want to give some attention to weed stocks today.