Stocks choppy with Michaels, Las Vegas Sands in focus

Citi chief U.S. equity strategist Tobias Levkovich makes future market trend predictions amid positive COVID

U.S. stocks opened mixed as investors digested a basket of deals and rising bond yields.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 31535.29 +143.77 +0.46%
SP500 S&P 500 3867.75 -2.54 -0.07%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13279.146155 -79.64 -0.60%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose over 80 points, or 0.2%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury ticked higher to 1.477% creating some headwinds for equities.

ARTS & CRAFTS KING MICHAELS GOING PRIVATE

In M&A news, arts and crafts retailer Michaels is going private, in a deal with Apollo Global Management, valued around $5 billion, including debt.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MIK MICHAELS CO. 22.15 +4.13 +22.92%

In the casino sector, Las Vegas Sands Corp., founded by the late Sheldon Adelson, reached a deal to sell its Las Vegas real estate for $6.25 billion as it shifts its focus to opportunities in Asia. Properties being sold include Venetian Resort Las Vegas and the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

LAS VEGAS SANDS SHEDDING ASSETS IN $6.2B DEAL

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
LVS LAS VEGAS SANDS CORP 66.19 +1.39 +2.14%

Elsewhere, Rocket Mortgage continues to see unusual volatility as the Reddit community turns its attention to the parent of Quicken Loans. GameStop also remains in play.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
RKT ROCKET COMPANIES INC. 33.13 -8.47 -20.36%
GME GAMESTOP 121.04 +3.01 +2.55%

Homebuilders D.R. Horton Inc. and Toll Brothers Inc. were also in focus after the Mortgage Bankers Association said mortgage rates last week rose at their fastest pace in over a year. Higher rates are the latest worry for the sector, which has recently had to grapple with a lumber shortage.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TOL TOLL BROTHERS 53.54 -0.38 -0.70%
DHI D.R. HORTON INC. 77.88 -0.83 -1.05%

On the COVID-19 vaccine front, President Biden delivered an optimistic outlook late Tuesday.

“We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” Biden said Tuesday. However, he warned that life may not return to normal until “this time next year.”

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MRK MERCK & CO., INC. 72.83 +0.04 +0.06%
JNJ JOHNSON & JOHNSON 157.09 -1.82 -1.15%

This after Merck & Co. and Johnson & Johnson announced they would team up to manufacture the latter’s recently approved single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. The partnership comes after Johnson & Johnson agreed to supply 100 million doses by June, but had run into supply and material issues.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
JWN NORDSTROM 36.12 -1.33 -3.56%

In earnings, Nordstrom Inc. reported sales in its holiday quarter fell 20% from a year ago amid an uncertain retail environment due to COVID-19. The department store chain said it would have to clear excess merchandise through its off-price channel.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil rallied 94 cents to $60.69 per barrel and gold slid $11.40 to $1,722.20 an ounce.

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Overseas markets were higher across the board.

Germany’s DAX 30 paced the gains in Europe, trading up 0.9%, while Britain’s FTSE 100 and France’s CAC 40 were higher by 0.82% and 0.62%, respectively.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 2.7%, China’s Shanghai Composite index rose 1.95% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.51%.