Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Stock futures under pressure ahead of U.S. retail sales data
- S&P 500 doubles from Covid pandemic bottom
- Retail giants Home Depot and Walmart report earnings
- U.S. is expected to recommend Covid vaccine booster shot 8 months after second dose
- Flights from Kabul resume as people scramble to leave Afghanistan
1. Stock futures under pressure ahead of U.S. retail sales data
Stock futures fell Tuesday as traders awaited the release of key economic data about the U.S. consumer. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 22 points, or 0.6%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively. Tuesday’s declines came a day after the Dow and S&P 500 set fresh record highs.
Retail sales data for July is slated for release at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect sales to have dropped by 0.3%, according to Dow Jones. Excluding autos, however, retail sales are expected to have risen by 0.2%.
2. S&P 500 doubles from Covid pandemic bottom
Monday was a banner day for the S&P 500 in more ways than one. The benchmark closed at 4,479.71, up 100.2% from its Covid closing low of 2,237.40 reached March 23, 2020. It marked the fastest bull market doubling off a bottom since World War II, according to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices. The blistering gains over that time came as the Federal Reserve launched a massive bond buying program and kept rates low, while the government injected trillions of dollars into the economy through relief spending.
3. Retail giants Home Depot and Walmart report earnings
Shares of Home Depot fell more than 3% in the premarket after the home improvement retailer’s same-store sales for the previous quarter missed expectations. Home Depot reported earnings per share and revenue for the quarter that beat analyst expectations but same-store sales for the fiscal second quarter rose by disappointing 4.5%. Analysts expected a gain of 5%, according to StreetAccount. The slight miss comes a year after consumers flocked into its stores to buy home improvement supplies while they were stuck inside due to the pandemic.
Walmart shares dipped more than 1% despite the company posting better-than-expected second-quarter results driven by grocery store and back-to-school spending. The company reported an adjusted profit of $1.78 per share on revenue of $141.05 billion. Analysts polled by Refinitiv expected earnings of $1.57 per share on revenue of $137.17 billion. Same-store sales grew by 5.2% in the quarter, topping a StreetAccount estimate of 3.3%.
4. U.S. is expected to recommend Covid vaccine booster shot 8 months after second dose
U.S. health experts are expected to recommend Americans of all ages receive a Covid vaccine booster shot eight months after they receive their second dose, The Associated Press reported, citing sources. The report said an announcement on booster shots was expected as soon as this week. The recommendation would come as new cases across the country rise amid the spread of the delta variant. Over the weekend, five states set fresh records for Covid cases.
5. Flights from Kabul resume as people scramble to leave Afghanistan
Flights from Kabul’s international airport resumed Tuesday following a frenzied day that saw thousands of Afghans run into the tarmac in attempts to leave Afghanistan. “The situation is stabilizing but obviously we are monitoring it very carefully,” U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News on Tuesday. “I do think that the airport is more stable today than it was yesterday, and we need to make sure that we consolidate that in the days ahead.” The chaos in the Middle Eastern nation came after the Taliban took over Kabul on Sunday as the U.S. pulled its troops from the country. “I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” President Joe Biden said Monday.