Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Wall Street looks steady after Monday's major tech stock rebound
- Senate panel to consider Powell's renomination as Fed chief
- GameStop has had a wild ride in year since meme stock craze began
- Average daily new Covid cases are up 50% over the past week
- There's a new ranking of America's top ESG stocks and a new No. 1
1. Wall Street looks steady after Monday's major tech stock rebound
U.S. stock futures were little changed, off higher levels earlier Tuesday, one day after a late-session tech stock reversal propelled the Nasdaq from an over 2.5% loss to a slight closing gain. In the process, the index broke its four-session losing streak. The S&P 500, which extended its losing streak to five straight sessions, closed down slightly but it, too, saw an afternoon rally back from a 2% decline.
The Dow fell almost 163 points, or nearly 0.5%, dropping for four trading days in row. However, the 30-stock average closed way off Monday's lows of down nearly 600 points. The rough start to the year for stocks has come as the 10-year Treasury yield soared this year, briefly topping 1.8% on Monday morning before backing off those levels. The benchmark yield was lower early Tuesday at almost 1.78%.
2. Senate panel to consider Powell's renomination as Fed chief
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell goes before a Senate committee Tuesday for his confirmation hearing for a second four-year term. Here is Powell's prepared testimony. In late November, President Joe Biden renominated Powell, who was elevated in 2018 to lead the Fed by former President Donald Trump. It was Trump's Democratic predecessor, former President Barack Obama, who initially appointed Powell to a 14-year term as governor in 2014.
Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said Monday he'll be departing his post with just a few weeks left on his term, following scrutiny over his stock fund trades during the Covid pandemic. Two regional Fed presidents, Eric Rosengren of Boston and Robert Kaplan of Dallas, both resigned after questions arose over their trading activities.
3. GameStop has had a wild ride in year since meme stock craze began
Tuesday, Jan. 11, is the one-year anniversary of start of the GameStop trading frenzy driven by individual investors who banded together on social media in an epic short squeeze that led to ramifications on Wall Street and in Washington. GameStop soared more than 2,600% in less than three weeks to an all-time of high of $483 intraday on Jan. 28, 2021.
However, the stock closed that day at $193.60 en route to a recent low close of $40.59 on Feb. 19, 2021. GameStop did make it back above $300 per share in June. But the trend since then has generally been lower. The company did get some pops along the way, including Friday on plans to create a marketplace for NFTs, nonfungible tokens. But the stock closed Monday at $131.
4. Average daily new Covid cases are up 50% over the past week
The U.S. is averaging about 754,000 new Covid cases per day over the past week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, an over 50% increase from the previous week as the omicron variant continues to rage across the nation. That number includes a report of a record of nearly 1.5 million new Covid cases Monday, some of which occurred over the weekend when many states halt data reporting. The country is reporting an average of about 1,650 daily deaths, which has also been on the rise but roughly half of the peak levels seen at this time last year, before vaccines were widely available.
5. There's a new ranking of America's top ESG stocks and a new No. 1
Just Capital, the ESG investing research group founded by hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, is out with its new ranking of the top companies in the U.S. on environmental, social and governance metrics. Alphabet is No. 1 in the 2022 Just 100 list, moving up four places from last year and bumping rival Microsoft from the top spot. The list reflects the dominant position of tech companies in the market, but there's a notable exception: Meta Platforms, formerly Facebook, which dropped nearly 700 spots this year within the total universe of 1,000 stocks ranked, placing it far behind tech peers and even companies not typically seen as ESG leaders, including Exxon Mobil.