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The Federal Budget in Focus

Zacks Equity Research

Deaths occurring due to the Wuhan-based coronavirus, currently referred to as COVID-19, has reached 1113 in mainland China, with 44,653 known cases in the country. This has officially made it a deadlier virus than the SARS epidemic from 18 years ago.

So why, with threats to the global economy tied at least somewhat to the spread of this disease, are pre-market futures trading up? Because the rate of new disease diagnoses is falling. This suggests COVID-19 may at least be being brought under control, limiting the damage it might do to the world economy.

This week is a relatively slow one for new economic data, although we do expect a new read on the Federal Budget for January today at 2pm ET. For December, this budget headline reached $9 billion. On Tuesday, new job openings for December came in lighter than expected: 6.4 million versus 6.8 million estimated.

Fed Chair Jay Powell continues his testimony on Capitol Hill today; if yesterday’s words from the head of the Federal Reserve is any indication, no notable surprises are expected. For instance, regarding COVID-19, Powell said that the disease could pose a threat to global growth. He made sure to mention economic growth in the U.S. remains strong, however.

CVS Health CVS outperformed expectations in its Q4 earnings report released early this morning, topping earnings projections by 5 cents to $1.73 per share on $66.9 billion in sales, ahead of the $64.22 billion anticipated and representing 23% growth year over year. CVS has not missed its earnings consensus since Q3 2015, and full-year estimates have been raised to $7.04-7.17 per share. The stock is up 0.8% on the news in today’s pre-market.

Shopify SHOP also impressed investors with a big beat on both top and bottom lines: 43 cents per share versus 23 cents expected, on $505.2 million which easily surpassed the Zacks consensus $482.3 million. Big growth in Gross Merchandizer Volume (GMV, a key metric in Shopify’s business model) was a major catalyst to company outperformance. Shares have climbed nearly 14% on the news this morning.


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