Dow Jones Futures Rise: Meta Soars Late, But Megacaps Can’t Hide Broad Market Woes

Dow Jones futures tilted higher overnight, with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures rising as Meta Platforms (META) and ServiceNow (NOW) headlined another big night for earnings.




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The stock market rally closed mixed on Wednesday, as Microsoft (MSFT) surged 7% on earnings, also lifting cloud software and some AI plays. But elsewhere, the market was generally negative.

First Republic Bank (FRC) continued to plunge into new lows as the California bank and regulators aim to avoid a bank seizure, but with few good outcomes for FRC stock investors.

Facebook and Instagram parent Meta Platforms, ServiceNow, Align Technology (ALGN), Meritage Homes (MTH) and Impinj (PI) reported late Wednesday.

Meta shares jumped late. But NOW stock fell modestly and Align Tech retreated solidly. PI stock plummeted. Meritage was not active.

Mobileye (MBLY), Crocs (CROX), Merck (MRK), Eli Lilly (LLY), AbbVie (ABBV) and MasterCard (MA) report early Thursday. All of these stocks are in or near buy points.

Meta stocks and Meritage Homes are on IBD Leaderboard. Mobileye and MTH stock are on the IBD 50. MBLY stock is also on the IBD Big Cap 20.

Dow Jones Futures Today

Dow Jones futures advanced 0.1% vs. fair value. S&P 500 futures rose 0.2%. Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.55%.

The Commerce Department will release its initial estimate of first-quarter GDP at 8:30 am Thursday. Economists expect to see a 2% annual gain. The report will also include Q1 inflation data that will give strong signals about Friday’s PCE price gauge for March.

The Labor Department will release weekly jobless claims data at 8:30 am

Remember that overnight action in Dow futures and elsewhere doesn’t necessarily translate into actual trading in the next regular stock market session.


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Meta Earnings

Meta earnings comfortably topped views, with revenue rising for the first time in four quarters. The social giant also guided higher on Q2 revenue.

Meta stock soared 12% overnight. Shares rose 0.9% to 209.40 in Wednesday’s regular session, as megacap techs rallied on Microsoft results. But Meta closed near session lows, below the 21-day line.

Other Key Earnings

ServiceNow earnings topped views with the business software giant also guiding higher on subscription revenue. NOW stock initially rose but then reversed 2% lower overnight. Shares climbed 2.7% to 454.03 on Wednesday, regaining the 50-day line but only recovering a portion of Tuesday’s 6.5% tumble. ServiceNow stock has a 485.68 cup-with-handle buy point.

Meritage Homes earnings topped views. MTH stock is not yet active in extended action. Shares slid 2.5% to 121.85 on Wednesday, but still closed to the April 20 all-time high of 130.68. Meritage stock has a 117.32 consolidation entry, with the 5% buy zone extending to 123.19.

Align earnings beat views with the Invisalign maker guiding up on Q2 revenue. ALGN stock tumbled 8% in extended action. Shares edged up 0.9% to 354.55 on Wednesday. Align stock is working on a 368.97 buy point, according to MarketSmith.

Impinj earnings fell short while the tracking-chip maker also guided low for the current quarter. PI stock crashed 26% in overnight trades. Shares fell 0.5% to 135.32. Impinj stock has been working on a consolidation with a 145 buy point.

Meanwhile, MBLY stock is near a handle buy point heading into Thursday’s earnings report. LLY stock pulled back to around a 375.35 buy point while Mastercard stock, Merck and ABBV withdrew below official entries. CROX stock is technically in buy range, but is extended from an early entry and the 50-day line.

Stock Market Rally

The stock market rally started off higher, fueled by Microsoft, but weakened throughout the session, closing mixed amid negative breadth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7% in Wednesday’s stock market trading. The S&P 500 index declined 0.4%. The Nasdaq composite closed up 0.5%. The small-cap Russell 2000 sank 0.9%.

US crude oil prices skidded 3.6% to $74.30 a barrel, a four-week low.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose 3 basis points to 3.43%.

ETFs

Among growth ETFs, the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) fell 0.75%. The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) climbed 0.3%, with Microsoft stock and NOW big IGV holdings. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) rose 0.7%.

Reflecting more speculative story stocks, ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) sank 1.9% and ARK Genomics ETF (ARKG) 1.4%.

SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) retreated 1.1% and the Global X US Infrastructure Development ETF (PAVE) 1.6%. US Global Jets ETF (JETS) decreased 1%. SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) gave up 1.4%. The Energy Select SPDR ETF (XLE) declined 1.3% and the Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV) declined 1.4%. LLY stock, Merck and AbbVie are all significant XLV holdings. ALGN stock is also in XLV.


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First Republic, Other Bank Stocks Hit

FRC stock tumbled 30% Wednesday to 5.63, hitting fresh all-time lows after crashing 49% Tuesday as First Republic Bank disclosed massive deposit flight in Q1. The California-based bank was looking for banking giants to buy many of its assets at above-market prices. The pitches? Buy these assets at above-market prices to avoid the FDIC taking control of First Republic and ultimately charging big banks hefty fees to offset the losses. It’s possible that any asset sale — or outright First Republic sale — would need some sort of government guarantees or incentives.

The FDIC may be wary of protecting all First Republic deposits because that includes the $30 billion injected by JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and other giants last month. But not doing so in the event of a First Republic collapse would likely trigger a widespread bank deposit run.

If an asset sale takes place, First Republic might then issue more shares at depressed prices.

meanwhile, PacWest Bancorp (PACW) jumped 7.5% after disclosing that deposits have stabilized and even increased slightly in the past few weeks.

Notably, regional banks overall nudged higher Wednesday while banking giants retreated.

The SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) rose 0.6% after tumbling Tuesday to the lowest level since late 2020. FRC stock and PacWest are KRE components.

The Financial Select SPDR ETF (XLF), dominated by financial giants, sank 0.95%, off for a fifth straight session. JPM stock, which is not far from highs, fell 1.8% to 135.23 on Wednesday, testing its 50-day line.


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Market Rally Analysis

The stock market rally went to “uptrend under pressure” on Tuesday, and Wednesday’s action didn’t really change that.

The Nasdaq composite, fueled by Microsoft, rebounded from its 50-day line but hit resistance at the 21-day. On Tuesday, the Nasdaq tumbled 2%, closing below the low of its March 29 follow-through day. That’s a bearish sign for the market rally.

The S&P 500, after quickly hitting the 21-day line resistance, fell modestly, nearing the 50-day line. The Dow Jones fell through the 21-day line, also close to the 50-day.

The Russell 2000 is below all its moving averages and not that far from six-month lows.

Microsoft wasn’t the only stock rallying Wednesday, though it felt like it. Amazon.com (AMZN) and several cloud software names got a lift from Microsoft’s results and comments, along with chip-giant Nvidia (NVDA) and networking leader Arista Networks (ANET). META stock and ServiceNow also got modest bounces.

Still, market breadth was weak, with losers outpacing winners once again.

On Tuesday, the Nasdaq advance/decline line undercut recent lows. The NYSE advance/decline looks better, but has also weakened over the past couple of weeks.

The First Trust Nasdaq-100 Equal Weighted Index ETF (QQEW) fell 0.75% after tumbling below its 50-day line on Tuesday. The Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF (RSP) gave up 1%, decisively below the 200-day line after closing just below that key level Tuesday.

Drugmakers such as Merck and Eli Lilly retreated Wednesday. The defensive growth field had been strong, but money flowed Wednesday into Microsoft and cloud-related names. Is that a one-day blip or something more?

Chipmakers bounced, but generally retook only a fraction of losses on Tuesday and recent days.

Homebuilders and footwear, including Meritage and CROX stock, still look strong.


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What To Do Now

With the market rallying under pressure, breadth weak and sector rotation continuing, it’s hard to get excited about a mixed, Microsoft-led bounce. Not many flashed stocks buy signals Wednesday in any case.

Investors should have modest exposure, cutting back on many recent buys.

Yes, if the earnings season goes well over the next few days, banking fears subsides and the market reacts well to the Fed meeting next week, the market rally could revive and buying opportunities flourish. But investors have to be prepared for other scenarios, such as further weakness or volatile market action.

Keep your watchlists up to date, but also have your exit strategies ready. Stay engaged and flexible amid a struggling rally and a massive news cycle.

Read The Big Picture every day to stay in sync with the market direction and leading stocks and sectors.

Please follow Ed Carson on Twitter at @IBD_ECarson for stock market updates and more.

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