US stocks nudged higher after strong Target earnings, a huge acquisition for J&J, and constructive signs Washington DC could be willing to get a smaller virus relief bill done. Target hit the ball out of the park with a strong earnings beat and a record 24% rise in comparable sales, almost three times higher than analysts’ expectations. J&J also announced the acquisition of Momenta Pharmaceuticals for about $6.5 billion in cash to improve its portfolio treatments for autoimmune diseases. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is willing to get a smaller stimulus proposal done now and get the rest done after the election.
After the morning’s news, Wall Street could see light volumes until the release of the Fed’s minutes. With just three meetings left in the year, investors are looking to see if the Fed will give some signs on when they will be completing their long-running review and if they are committed to a much more relaxed view on inflation.
Crude prices are falling ahead of the OPEC+ ministerial meeting and as US lawmakers seem poised to settle on a much smaller stimulus package. Today’s OPEC + meeting is all about compliance and making sure the cheaters are making up for exceeding their oil-output targets. Iraq and Nigeria have said all the right things, but if they don’t follow through on their promises, risks will grow that other producers will abandon the accord.
Dwindling stimulus expectations are not doing any favors for the demand outlook and that should keep oil prices somewhat heavy. The economic recovery is stalling and that will likely force OPEC+ to hold off on restoring more production over the next couple of months.
It will be a busy morning as the EIA crude oil inventory report will happen while the OPEC+ talks are proceeding in Vienna. Significant draws are expected across the board, with crude oil inventories falling 3.1 million barrels, slightly less than the 4.3 million draw reported in yesterday’s API report.
Gold prices softened after US stocks continued to edge higher and as lawmakers indicate a much smaller stimulus might be reached soon, with the rest of the stimulus coming after the election. The release of the Fed’s minutes should confirm the Fed is overly concerned the recovery is stalling and Congress needs to do their part. Financial markets will likely expect the Fed will be disappointed the latest fiscal stimulus deal seems to be dwindling and that raise the bar for extra support.
Bearish dollar bets could return following the expected dovish Fed minutes, but if the euro is unable to break above the 1.2000 level, traders may tentatively abandon due to exhaustion concerns.
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