MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow Could Open Above 25,000 As Global Stock Rally Stays Strong

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Tesla falls after fourth-quarter vehicle deliveries

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U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday, suggesting markets would notch another round of records and that the Dow could break through the 25,000 milestone less than a year after it first topped 20,000.

What are stock futures doing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 93 points, or 0.4%, to 24,972. The blue-chip average closed at record of 24,922.68 on Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-flirts-with-fresh-records-as-traders-wait-for-fed-minutes-2018-01-03). That means the implied move by futures would be enough to push the index above the 25,000 handle, a psychologically significant level that otherwise holds no fundamental or technical importance.

S&P 500 index futures rose 7.10 points, or 0.3%, to 2,718, while Nasdaq-100 index futures added 27.25 points, or 0.4%, to 6,612.25.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index also scored all-time closing highs on Wednesday, rising 0.6% and 0.8%, respectively. All three indexes are poised for their third straight daily increase.

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What's driving the market?

U.S. stock markets have risen on every single day of the new year so far, as the global trading mood from 2017 stayed strongly positive. Analysts said the upbeat sentiment is being buoyed by a continued rise in commodity prices, solid economic data and bond yields remaining at historic lows.

In Asia on Thursday, Japan's Nikkei 225 index ended at a 26-year high (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikkei-soars-on-its-first-trading-day-of-2018-leading-asian-market-gains-2018-01-03), while in Europe, stocks rose (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-set-for-2-week-high-boosted-by-car-makers-and-oil-majors-2018-01-04) almost across the board.

Energy companies contributed to the global gains, tracking a rise in oil prices. Crude futures were trading around three-year highs as antigovernment protests continued in Iran. The riots, which have left more than 20 people dead, have prompted fears of a disruption to crude output from OPEC's third-largest producer, which would limit global oil supply and support prices.

What are strategists saying?

"Momentum was the single-biggest factor driving prices in 2017, and that remains the case so far this year. Valuations are stretched, no question, based on historical standards, but they're OK relative to bond yields and inflation, which means we're not overly concerned about them at this juncture," said Michael Mullaney, director of global market research at Boston Partners.

Read:Fed minutes show a divide over its own forecast of 3 rate hikes this year (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-minutes-show-divide-over-its-own-forecast-of-three-rate-hikes-this-year-2018-01-03)

What's the latest economic data?

Private-sector hiring was stronger than expected in December (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/private-sector-job-growth-sizzles-in-december-with-250000-jobs-added-adp-says-2018-01-04), according to payroll processor ADP. Employers added 250,000 jobs, more than the 188,000 jobs forecast by economists surveyed by Econoday. November's tally was revised down by 5,000, however.

Separately, weekly jobless claims rose by 3,000 to 250,000 in the latest week.

Both reports are seen as a precursor to the closely watched nonfarm payrolls report on Friday, although the two data sets sometimes vary widely.

"If you breach 300,000 on claims, then you're skating on thin ice. We're nowhere near that," said Mullaney. Data like this "continues to demonstrate the positive global macroeconomic backdrop that means economies around the world, including the U.S., should be OK for the foreseeable future. Strong labor market data will help earnings, which in turn will help stock prices."

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Tesla Inc. (TSLA) fell 2.8% ahead of the bell. The electric-car maker said late Wednesday it had delivered fewer-than-expected vehicles in the fourth quarter (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-pushes-back-model-3-production-target-as-fourth-quarter-deliveries-fall-short-2018-01-03) as it pushed back a Model 3 production target.

Macy's Inc.(M) reported an increase in its holiday same-store sales (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/macys-reports-holiday-season-same-store-sales-increase-11-store-closures-in-early-2018-2018-01-04). The department store also said it would close stores in early 2018. The stock fell 0.6% in premarket trading.

Monsanto Co. (MON) reported first-quarter earnings and revenue that came in below expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/monsanto-reports-improved-q1-earnings-driven-by-bayer-merger-soybean-sales-2018-01-04).

Intel Corp.(INTC) lost 1.9% before the open, on course to add to a 3.4% loss logged on Wednesday. The prior session's decline came after the technology company admitted its chips have a security vulnerability (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/intel-stock-headed-for-worst-day-in-more-than-a-year-amd-pops-on-chip-design-flaw-report-2018-01-03) that will require software patches. Intel's Executive Brian Krzanich sold millions of dollars worth of shares (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/intel-ceo-sold-millions-in-stock-after-company-was-informed-of-vulnerability-before-disclosure-2018-01-03) after the company was informed of the vulnerabilities in its semiconductors but before it was publicly disclosed.

Celsion Corp.(CLSN) jumped 18% in premarket trading after the Food and Drug Administration cleared its ovarian cancer therapy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/celsion-shares-rise-20-after-fda-clears-its-ovarian-cancer-therapy-for-a-phase-12-trial-2018-01-04-8913741) for a phase 1/2 clinical trial.

See: What you need to know about the huge flaws affecting Intel and others (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/meltdown-and-spectre-are-huge-vulnerabilities-for-intel-and-more-what-you-need-to-know-2018-01-03)

Opinion: Intel suffers an epic security fail, offering a big opportunity for AMD (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/intel-suffers-an-epic-security-fail-offering-a-big-opportunity-for-amd-2018-01-03)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/intel-suffers-an-epic-security-fail-offering-a-big-opportunity-for-amd-2018-01-03)Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.(WBA) initially rose, but then fell 2% premarket after the drugstore chain posted better-than-expected earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/walgreens-boots-alliance-shares-rise-premarket-after-earnings-top-estimates-2018-01-04).

CVS Health Corp.(CVS) added 1.4% after the company issued its guidance for 2018 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cvs-sees-2018-revenue-growth-of-075-to-25-2018-01-04-7912229), saying it expects revenue growth of 0.75% to 2.5%.

L Brands Inc.(LB) slid 11% ahead of the bell after the retailer said same-store sales fell 4% in the 48 weeks ended Dec. 30.

Cogint Inc.(COGT) soared 51% in premarket action. The data and analytics company said it formed a strategic partnership with Dragonchain Inc. to boost its use of blockchain.

What are other markets doing?

Bitcoin futures dropped 2.3% to $14,625, while rival cryptocurrency ripple coin jumped 39% to $3.81, according to CoinMarketcap.com (https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/ripple/).

Gold prices shed 0.4% to reach $1,3143.40 an ounce.

The dollar declined against most other major currencies, sending the ICE dollar index down 0.3% to 91.908.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 04, 2018 08:58 ET (13:58 GMT)