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Open Interest Changes
In the U.S. on Thursday, all three major indexes ended mostly muted, near all-time highs, amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next year.
On the economic calendar, initial jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 23 increased by 12K to 218K, exceeding the expected 210K level.
Pending Home Sales stalled in November, with the index staying at 71.6, compared with the 0.8% growth that was expected.
Stock futures edged higher in the early trading hours of Friday, signaling a positive conclusion to 2023, as investors look ahead to the final trading day of the year, with Wall Street set to book strong annual gains: Dow +0.12%; S&P 500 +0.18%; Nasdaq +0.16%.
In the bond market, the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield was up 1 basis point to 3.86%.
Leo Nelissen, a Seeking Alpha analyst, stated:
I do not expect [Friday] to be different, as the Nasdaq 100 is about to close its best year since 1999. Investors aren’t going to take major risks or change major positions. The books are closed.
Japan (NKY:IND) -0.22%. Japan’s 10-year government bond yield rose above 0.6% and was headed for its fourth straight annual gain amid growing speculation that the Bank of Japan could end its negative interest rate policy next year.
China (SHCOMP) +0.61%. The mainland stocks rose for the third straight session as expectations of further policy easing and attractive valuations in China prompted aggressive buying from investors.
Here are some of Friday's biggest stock movers:
Gold Fields (GFI) shares rebounded by 4% after experiencing a 10.7% decline on Thursday, which was attributed to the miner revising its 2024 production forecast for the Salares Norte project in Chile. The anticipated commencement of the first gold production was delayed by four months to April due to recent challenges in the pre-commissioning process, including necessary rework on critical safety aspects. Gold Fields adjusted the FY 2024 production volume estimate for Salares Norte to 220K–250K gold equivalent ounces, down from the initial guidance of 400K–430K ounces, citing difficulties with the cyanide circuit and other reagent circuits, as well as personnel availability issues with the primary contractor.
Mullen Automotive (MULN) maintains its positive momentum, with a 5% rise in premarket hours on Friday, adding to the 28% gain from Thursday's trading, following the delivery of 50 Mullen ONE electric cargo vans to Randy Marion Automotive Group for $1.68M. In the next five business days, Randy Marion is expected to receive a total of 285 Mullen ONE vans as part of their order for 6K vehicles. The Mullen ONE, renowned for its 110-mile range on a single charge, ~1.7K pounds capacity, and 157-cubic-foot cargo volume, continues to bolster Mullen's optimistic outlook. The company anticipates invoicing over $6M for vehicles by the end of fiscal 2024 Q1 on December 31.
Our top stories:
In a recent development, Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL) (GOOG) has reached a preliminary settlement in a class action lawsuit that alleged the tech giant had misled consumers about their privacy protections when using the private browsing Incognito mode of its Chrome web browser.
The lawsuit sought at least $5 billion. Settlement terms were not disclosed, but the lawyers said they expected to present a formal settlement for court approval by February 24, 2024.
After nearly four long years in court, Google is a step closer to reaching a final settlement with the plaintiffs, according to a joint filing submitted to Northern District of California Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.
The settlement followed a federal court ruling last week that denied Google's request to exclude substantial evidence. The ruling also dismissed a Google request to exclude evidence related to other litigation and regulations "not at issue in this litigation." In August, Rogers denied Google's request for a summary judgment.
The lawsuit, from 2020, covered millions of Google users since June 1, 2016, and they wanted a minimum of $5,000 in damages per user for alleged violations of federal wire-tapping and California privacy laws. They claimed that Google's analytics, cookies, and apps allowed it to track users even in so-called "Incognito".
Google and the lawyers for the plaintiffs were not immediately available for comment.
Cathie Wood's ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW) dumped its remaining Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (OTC:GBTC) shares and acquired 4.3M shares of ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO), in an end-of-year revamp, ARK Invest disclosed late Wednesday.
The ETF also added 20,000 shares of ARK 21Shares Active Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF (ARKA).
ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW) sold the GBTC shares out of "an abundance of caution," Wood said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. "We're still as optimistic about Bitcoin (BTC-USD) as we ever have been," she added.
For the year-to-date, ARK Next Generation Internet ETF climbed 108%. Grayscale Bitcoin Trust surged 342%, and Coinbase (COIN) soared 451% YTD on rising optimism, especially in the past month, that the Securities and Exchange Commission will approve a spot bitcoin ETF in early 2024.
Despite high tariffs on EV imports in India, Tesla has shown a willingness to invest up to $2 billion in setting up a local factory, contingent on a concessional duty of 15% on imported vehicles during the plant’s first two years of operation.
The substantial import taxes imposed by India have posed a significant obstacle to Tesla's entrance into the market. At present, the country imposes up to 100% duty on luxury cars, which sharply contrasts with Tesla's plea for a preferential 15% duty.
The negotiation is not just about bringing Tesla cars to Indian roads but also about stimulating the local EV ecosystem, with Tesla proposing to localize up to 20% of car components within two years, scaling to 40% in four years, as per the reports.
Tesla aims to introduce the Model 3, Model Y, and a new, more affordable hatchback to the Indian market. With concessional import duty, the prices of these models could be significantly reduced, making them more accessible to Indian consumers, the reports added.
Wedbush also listed five possible themes for the year that are inconsistent with market consensus and run counter to what it believes investors are expecting.
- Retail media growth could pull advertising dollars away from digital advertising mediums, creating headwinds for Google and Meta.
- Travel materially outperforms expectations and consumer preferences for experiences over goods persist, benefiting Airbnb and Booking.
- Consumer-facing generative AI product adoption proves further out than expected, hurting Meta, Google, and Microsoft.
- 2024 could surprise investors should ongoing side projects at Amazon and Alphabet become more prominent commercially and are increasingly discussed by management.
- Virtual reality adoption accelerates. Meta released its latest VR headset, the Meta Quest 3, in October, and Apple is reportedly planning to launch its first headset, the Vision Pro, in late January or early February.