Stock Market Futures Advance Ahead Of March Producer Price Index Release
U.S. stock futures are in the green in early morning trading as we approach the midweek session. This comes as the stock market continues to see-saw while investors digest the current batch of economic data. For today, the latest update on the economic front will be in the form of the monthly Producer Price Index (PPI). According to consensus estimates, a 10.6% year-over-year increase could be possible. Economists over at Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) cite “blistering strength” in commodity prices for this.
Not to mention, big banks are set to kick off the first-quarter earnings season tomorrow as well. Commenting on the importance of this is Citi’s (NYSE: C) head of global wealth investments, Kristen Bitterly. She argues, “This earnings season becomes one of the most important earnings seasons because it’s going to give you a lot of insight into which companies … have that durable demand, which companies have that pricing power.” Aside from all this, there is also plenty of stock market news to keep investors on their toes as well. As of 4:26 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading higher by 0.46%, 0.54%, and 0.73% respectively.
Aterian Stock Pops Again As Retail Investor Hype Fuels Gains
In the news today is Aterian (NASDAQ: ATER). This consumer tech name has been and still is making the rounds amongst retail investors now. For the most part, this appears to be another effect of the ongoing resurgence in meme stock interest. As retail investors band together to initiate short-squeezes, more mentions of ATER stock are popping up across chat platforms. This seems to be the case with Stocktwits and Reddit’s WallStreetBets pages. In fact, ATER stock is up by over a whopping 130% in the past month. This would be after it jumped by as much as 23% during yesterday’s intraday trading yesterday.
Notably, the current movement in the company’s shares would line up gaining short interest. According to current estimates, short interest as a percentage of total float is currently at over 34% for ATER stock. For one thing, with Aterian seemingly joining the meme stock trend, some traders may be interested to initiate a position. After all, in times of uncertainty, more risk-tolerant investors may consider meme stocks as a play. This is understandable seeing as we have decades-high inflationary prints, mentions of recession, and the Ukraine-Russia war disrupting global economies.
Even so, would investing in ATER stock be all hype but no substance? That remains to be seen. Worth mentioning, the company is set to report its first fiscal quarter results early next month. To get a sense of how Aterian is doing in terms of fundamentals we could look at its latest quarterly earnings release. Just last month, the company posted commendable figures for its fourth-quarter earnings call. For the previous quarter, Aterian’s quarterly revenue came in at $63.3 million, marking a substantial 52.6% year-over-year increase. Regardless, ATER stock is likely to gain attention in the stock market today.
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Trump-Backed SPAC In Focus After Reports Of Fox News Getting On Truth Social
In other social media-related news, the Trump-associated social media firm Digital World Acquisition Corporation (NASDAQ: DWAC) is making waves. Simply put, DWAC stock is on the rise now thanks to a notable report regarding the Truth Social platform. Overall, the report notes that the Fox Corporation’s (NASDAQ: FOX) Fox News is joining Truth Social. Safe to say, such a move would stir investor interest in DWAC stock as Fox News is a sizable news outlet. To put things into perspective, Fox News had almost 2.4 million primetime viewers during the week of February 7 according to viewership data. This is well above the viewership count of news networks at the time.
More importantly, it is also crucial to note the audience that will be signing up for the platform. Most would argue that Donald Trump’s followers from across his various banned social media accounts would fall in this group. As such, bringing on the leading right-leaning news network could serve to further bolster the appeal of Truth Social to its target audience. Also, the current partnership comes at an ideal time for DWAC as Truth Social downloads have been on the decline. According to Bloomberg sources, daily downloads are now at 8,000 versus 170,000 at the initial stages. While the Trump Media & Technology Group continues to merge with DWAC, investors will likely be watching DWAC stock.
Kohl’s In Focus Following News Of Possible Takeover Offer From Franchise Group
Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) is also in the limelight in today’s stock market news thanks to an exclusive report from Reuters. Namely, the bidding war to acquire the company continues to heat up. According to the report, Franchise Group (NASDAQ: FRG) is entering the fray with a sizable $9 billion offer. For those uninitiated, Franchise Group is the owner of a vast array of retail companies and franchises. This includes but is not limited to Pet Supplies and The Vitamin Shoppe.
By and large, such an offer would value Kohl’s at about $69 per share. This would be below the highest offer so far from Hudson’s Bay at $70 per share. With all this in mind, it is apparent that the bidding war for Kohl’s continues to heat up. However, this is not all that surprising seeing as Kohl’s is the operator of the largest U.S. department store chain. Regarding when the company could come to a decision, its upcoming May 11 annual meeting would be a possible date. Even now, Kohl’s notes that it is currently “thoughtfully and thoroughly,” evaluating offers from over 20 potential buyers. Because of all this, I could see KSS stock turning some heads in the stock market today.
Fertilizer Stocks Rise As Food Prices Continue To Soar
At the same time, the latest bump in consumer prices is contributing to gains among the top fertilizer stocks now. All in all, this section of the stock market today has and continues to gain this year. This would be an ongoing effect of the conflict in Eastern Europe as Ukraine and Russia are among the largest global exporters of fertilizer. At face value, this would be one of the more apparent causes of the hike. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest CPI report also highlights another possible source of pressure. This would be in the form of rising food costs where “food away from home” prices are up by 6.9% year-over-year. Also, “food at home” prices are looking at an increase of 10% over the same period.
In the larger scheme of things, this presents a growing issue for global markets as the cost to produce food rises. Accordingly, this is also seeing a bump in attention for fertilizer stocks. For instance, we could consider companies like CF Industries (NYSE: CF), Mosaic (NYSE: MOS), and CVR Partners (NYSE: UAN) now. As it stands, all three companies’ shares are looking at year-to-date gains of over 55%. For investors looking toward more recession-proof stocks amidst all the volatility in markets, this could be a viable play.