U.S. stock futures are mixed this morning, as Wall Street dithers ahead of a pair of Federal Reserve speeches. Livening up an otherwise uneventful day economically, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren will speak at 9 a.m. Eastern in Hartford, Conn., followed by Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart at 12:40 p.m. Eastern.
It will be a week for speeches, apparently, as Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will speak at a town-hall meeting in Washington on Thursday, and President-elect Donald Trump will hold his first news conference since July is this Wednesday.
Against this backdrop, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are off 0.11% and S&P 500 futures have slipped 0.07%, while Nasdaq-100 futures have edged 0.07% higher.
On the options front, volume remained well above average on Friday with about 16.3 million calls and 14.2 million puts changing hands on Friday. Over on the CBOE, the single-session equity put/call volume ratio ticked lower to 0.68, while the 10-day moving average finally moved lower off a four-session stint at a one-month high to arrive at 0.66.
Turning to Friday’s volume leaders, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) saw a spike in call option activity despite the stock’s 50-day and 200-day moving averages completing a bearish technical “death cross.” Elsewhere, RBC Capital weighted in bullishly on Nvidia Corporation’s (NASDAQ:NVDA) partnership with Audi to deliver a self-driving car by 2020, and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) was smacked lower by a reminder that President-elect Donald Trump doesn’t like the Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) merger deal.
Facebook Inc (FB)
FB stock saw its 50-day and 200-day moving averages complete a “death cross” on Friday, a technical formation that is often the harbinger of a bear market for afflicted stocks. The cross arrives after FB has shed more than 6.7% in the past two months, with Facebook plagued by ad reporting issues that could undermine the company’s bottom line. While some technical analysts believe such a cross is more indicative of prior woes, FB stock traders should keep a close eye on the shares and any breaches of key support levels — such as the $115 area for Facebook stock.
Options traders didn’t seem too concerned with this technical development on Friday, however. Total volume for FB stock hit 903,000 contracts, with calls snapping up 67% of the day’s take — well above Facebook’s daily average call activity in the 64%-65% range.
In fact, looking at the week ahead, the Jan. 13 put/call open interest ratio has fallen to a near-term low of 0.65, with calls on the verge of doubling puts for the series. In other words, options traders don’t appear too concerns with technical harbingers, and are looking for FB stock to continue to rebound in kind.