U.S. stock futures are moving marginally higher in the pre-market trading in the stock market Monday as we approach the end of August. Investor optimism has been bolstered by the comments from Fed chairman Jerome Powell. In detail, he explained that this year’s inflation surge would prove temporary. Besides, the Fed will be patient before taking a more aggressive approach on interest rates. This shows that the pandemic-era Fed support will be withdrawn cautiously and gradually.
That said, there’s no specific timeline for scaling back stimulus. As a result, a lot of attention will be on the U.S. jobs data this week to assess whether the economic recovery merits an earlier tapering. With the Fed’s Jackson Hole meeting in the rearview, investors are now focused on the direction of stocks for the final months of the year.
Meanwhile, Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) rival Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI) reported its second-quarter earnings this morning. The company’s vehicle sales came in 41.6% higher to $759.4 million. In addition, gross profit also came in 54.5% higher to $147.6 million. You could say that the fundamentals of China’s EV market remain intact. As of 7:20 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are edging up by 0.05%, 0.09% and 0.12% respectively.
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Affirm Holdings (NASDAQ: AFRM) stock made a big move that brought its stock to its best level since February. This came after the company announced that its “Buy Now, Pay Later” offerings are coming to Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN). In fact, the two companies are already testing the flexible payment service and plan to widely debut the option in the upcoming months. So, how would it work?
Specifically, Amazon customers spending $50 or more will soon have the option to split those payments into multiple monthly installments. Affirm made sure that the service offered on Amazon.com won’t involve any late fees or hidden charges. Nevertheless, Affirm will also devise its own strategy to limit potential losses from customers who take advantage of the company’s generosity.
For those uninitiated, the company currently has other big partners using its services as well. Amongst them are Shopify (NYSE: SHOP), Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE), and Peloton Interactive (NASDAQ: PTON), to name a few. If anything, the Amazon partnership is the latest sign of the booming lending space as younger consumers move towards these alternative lines of credit.
“By partnering with Amazon we’re bringing the transparency, predictability, and affordability that Affirm provides today to the millions of people who shop on Amazon.com in the U.S. … Offering Affirm’s alternative to credit cards also delivers more of the payment choice and flexibility consumers on Amazon want.”- Eric Morse, Senior Vice President of Sales at Affirm.Source: TD Ameritrade TOS Zoom Earnings On Tap After The Stock Market Closes Today
Zoom Video Communication (NASDAQ: ZM) will announce its second-quarter earnings on Monday afternoon. This upcoming fiscal report may give investors their first glimpse at what the video collaboration platform would look like in the post-pandemic world. From its most recent quarterly results, the stay-at-home play has shown that the company has been firing on all cylinders. Revenue, for instance, came in 191% year-over-year in its first-quarter fiscal.
However, as the economy reopens and some pandemic-related catalysts lose momentum, investors are expecting a deceleration in growth. For the second quarter, Zoom is expected to report $1.16 a share in profit, according to FactSet estimates. That’s up from $0.92 a share a year earlier. But there may be contrarians who believe that working from home is here to stay. That’s partly considering the rising cases of Delta variant. Thus, the growth story may not be over yet for Zoom.
Also, investors should take a closer look at what the management has to say about Zoom’s acquisition of Five9 (NASDAQ: FIVN). The target company’s cloud-based contact center solutions will strengthen Zoom’s value proposition with enterprise customers in the future. While Zoom stock has been a pandemic winner, many have concerns about whether its growth is sustainable. Hence, the bigger metric to look at is the updated outlook from CEO Eric Yuan for the third quarter and the wider fiscal 2022 year. Another strong period of growth might convince investors to be more bullish on ZM stock.Chinese Stocks Continue To Be Under Spotlight After IPO Ban
Investing in Chinese stocks has been unpleasant to some investors as of late. This leads to the question – has China become uninvestable? For those who are unfamiliar, Beijing has been cracking down on industries from tech to education and gaming. All of these are happening while Chinese authorities are tightening restrictions on cross-border data flows and security.
Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management is one of the funds turning less bearish on Chinese stocks based on last week’s transactions. Wood added Tencent (OTCMKTS: TCEHY), JD.com (NASDAQ: JD), and Pinduoduo (NASDAQ: PDD). Meanwhile, at BlackRock, the $1.58 billion China Fund appears to have also nibbled on Chinese stocks during the recent slump.
With so much regulatory oversight from Beijing, there has been a $1 trillion sell-off among Chinese stocks. But some investors who see the potential in the Chinese economy continue to buy on dips. Sure, investor confidence could take some time to settle given the political tension among the two biggest economies. But there may not be a hurry to buy on dips or to write them off just yet.Earnings Winding Down
As the second-quarter earnings season winds down, it is noteworthy that many companies have topped estimates. That comes amid a recovery in the business environment for these companies. For those looking to catch names reporting before the opening bell, there are a few notable names on the deck. They include the likes of Li Auto and Cloudera (NYSE: CLDR).
Subsequently, if post-market earnings are more to your interest, there are also a few big names on tap. Names such as Zoom Video Communications, Nordson (NASDAQ: NDSN), and StoneCo (NASDAQ: STNE). All in all, whether it is rethinking about your portfolio following the updates from the Fed or simply keeping up with a few earnings, there is a lot to keep you occupied as we kick start the week.