Skip to main content

Apple, Peloton, Pfizer, Omicron and Stock Markets - Five Things  You Must Know

Stock futures higher with Fed meeting in Focus; UK warns of an Omicron 'tidal wave' as infections surge; Pfizer shares jump on UBS upgrade, boost shot benefits; Apple closes in on $2 trillion valuation and ... just like that, Peloton shares are back in the green.

Here are five things you must know for Monday, December 13:

1. -- Stock Futures Move Higher With Fed Meeting In Focus 

U.S. equity futures moved higher Monday, potentially extending the S&P 500's best weekly gain since February, as investors look ahead to a busy week of central bank decisions, including a key Federal Reserve decision on taper, while closely tracking the quickening increase of Omicron infections around Europe. 

The Fed is widely expected to accelerate the tapering of its monthly bond purchases when its concludes a two-day policy meeting Wednesday, particularly after Friday's data showing the fastest rate of consumer price inflation since 1982 last month. New Fed projections on growth and inflation may also cement market expectations of a June rate hike. 

The Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank will also issue policy statements this week, with concerns over the rising levels of Delta and Omicron infections likely to keep each of the three banks from signaling tighter conditions in the months again, adding to upward pressure on the U.S. dollar. 

On Wall Street, a relatively quiet week in terms of corporate earnings will be supported by factory gate inflation data Tuesday, the Fed decision and November retail sales data Wednesday,  and housing and weekly jobless claims data on Thursday. 

In terms of Monday's opening, futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a 115 point opening bell gain while those linked to the S&P 500 are priced for a 15 point advance. Futures tied to the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite are indicating a 60 point bump at the start of trading as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields hold at 1.477% in overnight trading.

TheStreet Recommends: Can the Federal Reserve Stop Inflation?

2. -- UK Prime Minister Warns of Omicron 'Tidal Wave'

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned of a "tidal wave" of Omicron infections threatening the world's fifth-largest economy Sunday as he pushed for a faster take-up of booster shots as scientists raised their threat-level amid a surge of newly-identified cases.

The government will vote on a series of new mandates, known as 'Plan B', later this week, with Johnson urging people to work from home, wear masks in public and carry vaccine cards. 

Omicron now counts for around 40% of all new infections in London since it was first identified on November 27, health officials said, and is doubling in terms of its spread every two to three days.

"A tidal wave of Omicron is coming," Johnson said in a televised statement to the nation. "And I'm afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need."  

TheStreet Recommends

3. -- Pfizer Shares Get Booster, UBS Rating Boost

Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report shares powered higher in pre-market trading Monday after a U.K. study showed that a third shot of the drugmaker's Covid vaccine provides solid protection against Omicron and analysts at UBS lifted their rating and price target. 

The UK Health Security Agency said a Pfizer booster shot provided around 75% protection against symptomatic infections from Omicron, based on a study of 581 people identified as having the new variant, compared to around 90% against the Delta variant. 

Pfizer shares were also lifted by a note from UBS analyst Colin Bristow, who increased his price target on the drugmaker by $8, to $60 a share, while improving his rating on the stock to 'buy' from 'neutral'.

Pfizer shares were marked 1.7% higher in pre-market trading to indicate and opening bell price of $53.65 each.

4. --  Apple Closes In On $3 Trillion Valuation

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report share nudged higher in pre-market trading, lifting the value of the world's most valuable company closer to the $3 trillion mark.

Apple shares, which are up more than 38.6% so far this year, first passed the $2 trillion mark in August of 2020, just two years after it reached the $1 trillion threshold. And while reports vary with respect to iPhone demand -- and indeed sufficient supplies -- over this holiday season, few analysts are prepared to bet against the group's longer-term prospects.

"While the supply chains issues have curtailed some growth for Apple on this massive product cycle playing out across its entire hardware ecosystem, we believe the pent-up demand story for Cupertino is still being underestimated by investors with chip issues a transitory issue in our opinion," said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, a long-time Apple bull.

Apple shares were marked 1.1% higher in pre-market trading Monday to indicate an opening bell price of $181.42 each. A price of $182.85 each should take the tech giant past the $3 trillion mark.

5. -- And just like that ... Peloton Shares Leap

Peloton Interactive  (PTON) - Get Peloton Interactive, Inc. Class A Report shares bounced higher in pre-market trading Monday after the fitness equipment maker posted a short video that poked fun at the 

Peloton, which slumped to a 20-month low last week, has been beset by concerns over changes in the post-pandemic habits of its customer base and reports of safety concerns linked to its treadmill. Last week, a key character in the re-boot of "Sex and the City" died following a Peloton workout, adding to the group's branding challenges.

In a Sunday reply, however, Peloton published a lighthearted clip on its verified Twitter feed-- using 'Mr. Big' actor Chris Noth - that extolled the virtues of cardio-focused exercise.

Peloton shares were marked 3.15% higher in pre-market trading Monday to indicate an opening bell price of $39.72 each.