U.S. stock futures are hovering around breakeven this morning, as Wall Street debates its options ahead of President-elect Donald Trump’s first press conference since July. Investors are growing concerned about the content of today’s press conference, prompting the Dow Jones Industrial Average to retreat further from the much-anticipated 20,000 level yesterday.
Heading into the open, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are off 0.1%, S&P 500 futures have dipped 0.03% and Nasdaq-100 futures have edged 0.02% lower.
On the options front, volume arrived below average on Monday, as only about 12.4 million calls and 10.3 million puts traded yesterday. Over on the CBOE, the single-session equity put/call volume ratio whipsawed to a one-week low of 0.62, though the 10-day moving average held pat at 0.66.
Turning to Monday’s volume leaders, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) option volume jumped after Morgan Stanley named the company a “top pick” for 2017, while Walt Disney Co’s (NYSE:DIS) “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” topped the box office for the fourth straight week — attracting heavy call volume. Finally, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) unveiled both new and old offerings at the Detroit Auto Show this week to a mixed reception.
Apple Inc. (AAPL)
AAPL stock broke out above its October highs in the $118 region yesterday, riding high on the latest round of bullish comments out of Morgan Stanley. On Friday last week, Morgan Stanley named Apple a “top pick” based on pent-up demand for the iPhone and potential incoming tax breaks from President-elect Donald Trump.
The Trump reasoning is well known, with the incoming President expected to slash corporate tax rates and offer incentives for companies to bring home hoards of cash stored overseas. But the pent-up iPhone demand is based on slow consumer uptake of the iPhone 7 due to lack of impressive design and features.
Morgan Stanley believes the iPhone 8 will remedy that situation.
Options traders were quick to jump on AAPL calls Monday morning. More than one million contracts traded on AAPL stock, with calls snapping up 67% of the day’s take — well above average for the shares. Looking out to January 2017, AAPL is trading north of peak call and put open interest at the $115 strike, but more than 171,000 calls still reside overhead at the $120 strike. With the right tailwind, AAPL has a shot at besting this hurdle, which could give rise to another bull run for the shares.