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What to Watch Today: Stocks Look Steady After More Retail Earnings, Near-Record Closes

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were relatively flat Wednesday, one day after robust retail earnings propelled Wall Street higher. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished Tuesday just shy of their Nov. 8 record high closes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, helped by Home Depot's (HD) 5.7% advance, also rose but needed to make up more than 0.8% to top its Nov. 8 record close. Bitcoin on Wednesday topped $60,000 again but remained about 13% off last week's all-time high. (CNBC)

The 10-year Treasury yield held above 1.6% early Wednesday after the government's October housing starts and building permits report. Starts fell 0.7% to an annual rate of 1.52 million units, short of expectations. Permits in October rose 4% to an annual rate of 1.65 million, topping estimates. (CNBC)

* Mortgage refinance demand continues its free fall, as interest rates rise again (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Retail earnings continued Wednesday, with Target (TGT) reporting fiscal third-quarter earnings and revenue that topped estimates. The big-box retailer raised forward guidance. But like Walmart (WMT) on Tuesday, Target investors worried about margins as the company absorbed some of the higher costs of supply chain disruptions and labor shortages rather than passing them on to consumers. Target shares fell more than 4% in the premarket. (CNBC)

One day after Home Depot's strong quarterly results, Lowe's (LOW) reported fiscal third-quarter earnings and revenue that beat expectations. The home improvement chain got a bump in business from home professionals and online sales. Like Home Depot, Lowe's quarterly same-store sales single-digit percentage increases exceeded estimates but were not nearly as much as the Covid-fueled nesting trend of a year ago. Lowe's raised its full-year revenue forecast. Shares rose 4% in the premarket. (CNBC)

Covid cases in the U.S. need to fall "well below 10,000" per day for the country to achieve some semblance of pre-pandemic life, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci estimated. The U.S. reported an average of more than 84,000 new Covid cases every day over the past week, a 13% increase from the week before. (CNBC)

* Pfizer submits FDA application for emergency approval of Covid treatment pill (CNBC)
* U.S. secures GSK-Vir COVID-19 antibody therapy doses worth $1 billion (Reuters)

Senate Democrats hope to pass President Joe Biden's social safety net and climate plan before Christmas and put the finishing touches on their agenda before next year's midterm elections. The House aims to approve the $1.75 trillion economic package later this week. The Senate then plans to take up the legislation after it returns from a Thanksgiving recess. (CNBC)

* Yellen says U.S. could hit debt limit on Dec. 15, giving Congress more time to strike deal (CNBC)
* Biden to make final decision about Fed chair in a few days (Reuters)

Biden on Wednesday is set to tour a General Motors plant in Detroit that makes electric vehicles, as he continues to sell the benefits of the recently signed $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. Biden is expected to highlight $7.5 billion in the new law for EV chargers. (AP)

As legacy automakers ramp up their EV offerings, investors are bidding up a host of new electric vehicle newcomers like Lucid Group. The stock, which began trading in July, surged nearly 24% on Tuesday after executives said reservations for its first vehicles jumped and that its production plans for 2022 were still on track. (CNBC)

That share price move pushed Lucid's market value to $89.87 billion, and the stock higher again in Wednesday's premarket. That's almost as high as GM and higher than Ford. Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson, a former Tesla executive, told CNBC on Tuesday evening the automaker is targeting factory expansion in China and the Mideast by mid-decade. (CNBC)

* Morgan Stanley is skeptical of red-hot Lucid, says EV stock could fall 70% (CNBC Pro)

Rivian (RIVN) added 1.6% in the premarket and has yet to experience a losing session since the electric vehicle maker went public last Wednesday. Rivian has been up about 15% in each of the past two trading days and closed Tuesday at $172.01 compared with its IPO price of $78. (CNBC)

The Staples Center will be renamed for Crypto.com next month in a $700 million deal for the naming rights to the home arena of the Los Angeles Lakers. The downtown arena is the home court to the Lakers, Clippers and National Hockey League's Kings franchise. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

La-Z-Boy (LZB) jumped 5.6% in premarket trading after the furniture maker beat estimates by 8 cents with a quarterly profit of 85 cents per share. Revenue also beat forecasts, and the company said it continues to see strong consumer demand although it has been impacted by supply chain disruptions.

Baidu (BIDU) beat estimates on the top and bottom lines for its latest quarter, with the China-based e-commerce company benefiting from stronger ad sales as well as strength in cloud and artificial intelligence products. Baidu added 1.2% in the premarket.

Deere (DE) workers will vote on a tentative contract offer today, after rejecting two previous tentative pacts. Those workers have been on strike since October 14.

Roku (ROKU) was downgraded to "sell" from "neutral" at Moffett Nathanson, which said signs of slowing revenue growth for the video streaming device maker have become more obvious and forced the firm to rethink its long-term assumptions. Roku shares fell 3.1% in premarket trading.

WATERCOOLER

Miramax has filed a lawsuit against Quentin Tarantino over the director's plans to create and auction off a series of nonfungible tokens based on his work on "Pulp Fiction." The entertainment company alleges that Tarantino's planned NFT offerings violate the copyrights it holds to the director's 1994 film. (AP)

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