Equity futures were marginally lower in early trading following yesterday's rally on Wall Street and the major averages remain in the red near noon, with the Nasdaq the worst performer. The sluggishness in equities follows a strong rally yesterday that saw the S&P 500 gain over 2% in its best single day move since June.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., little economic data of note was reported.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Target (TGT) are 5% lower near noon after the company's report of fourth quarter adjusted EPS and revenue that beat consensus forecasts. The company, which reported that its comparable sales grew 20.5% in Q4, added that its "off to a strong start" in February, with comps up 20%. However, in "the face of continued uncertainty," the company is not providing sales and EPS guidance for fiscal 2021 and beyond.
In other retail earnings news, Kohl's (KSS) also reported holiday quarter adjusted EPS and revenue that beat consensus forecasts. Michelle Gass, Kohl's CEO, said the company is "pleased with the progress we are making against our strategic initiatives and we are set up to deliver a multi-year improvement in sales and operating margin." Kohl's shares are 2% higher in midday trading.
Outside of retail, shares of Zoom Video Communications (ZM) initally rose but have pulled back to be down about 2% lower near noon after the company crushed earnings per share estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter. Zoom additionally issued an upbeat forecast for the current quarter, after which the shares were upgraded to Overweight at Piper Sandler.
In COVID-19 news, President Biden will announce today that Merck (MRK) will help make Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) single-shot coronavirus vaccine, Laurie McGinley and Christopher Rowland of Washington Post report, citing senior administration officials. Under the arrangement, Merck will dedicate two facilities in the United States to Johnson & Johnson's shots, officials told the paper.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Perion Network (PERI), which rose 25% after raising its fiscal 2021 revenue guidance. Also higher was Amyris (AMRS), which gained 32% after reporting quarterly results. Among the notable losers was Morphic (MORF), which declined 14% after its $200M common stock offering.
Also lower were FibroGen (FGEN) and Novavax (NVAX), which fell a respective 29% and 16% after reporting quarterly results. In addition, FibroGen disclosed it has been told by the FDA that an advisory panel will be held for roxadustat, which Citi analyst Joel Beatty called an "unusual last-minute decision" by the regulator.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 59.34, or 0.19%, to 31,476.17, the Nasdaq was down 138.19, or 1.02%, to 13,450.64, and the S&P 500 was down 16.74, or 0.43%, to 3,885.08.