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Stocks Slide, Kohl's, Peloton, Earnings and Bitcoin - Five Things You Must Know

Stock futures slide amid Russia tensions, rate concerns; earnings in focus ahead of key week for big tech reports; Kohl's shares soar as private equity suitors compete for department store retailer; Peloton under activist pressure following multi-billion selloff and Bitcoin extends slide to pull crypto benchmark further into six-month lows.

Here are five things you must know for Monday, January 24:

1. -- Stock Futures Slide Amid Russia Tensions, Rate Concerns

U.S. equity futures moved lower Monday, following on from a sell-off in major markets around the world, as investors looked ahead to a crucial week of headline risk including a key Fed meeting, scores of bluechip earnings and accelerating geopolitical tensions between Washington and Moscow.

European and Asia stocks suffered heavy losses Monday, with traders reluctant to snap-up beaten down tech stocks ahead of Wednesday's Fed meeting -- where is it expected to first of at least three rate hikes before the end of the year -- and the busy slate of corporate earnings starting after the bell today with a December quarter update from IBM.

The simmering tensions between the Russia and the Ukraine, where troops are reportedly amassing on the former Soviet satellite's border, is also having an effect on sentiment, particularly now that President Joe Biden is thought to be mulling intervention options as he orders family members of diplomats in Kyiv to leave “due to the continued threat of Russian military action” in the region.

U.S. stocks, which looked to claw back a small portion of last week's losses -- the worst since the 2020 pandemic -- in early pre-market trading are now slipping lower as market volatility gauges remain elevated and bond yields dictate trading as we approach the opening bell.

Futures tied to the Dow are indicating a 140 point opening bell decline while those linked to the S&P 500 are priced for a 25 point bump to the downside.

Nasdaq Composite futures are indicating a 120 point opening bell slide even as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields ease to 1.721% in overnight trading.

2. -- Earnings In Focus Ahead of Key Week For Big Tech Reports

With few top-tier economic data releases on tap for this week, earnings will take center-stage on Wall Street with more than a quarter of the S&P 500 poised to provide updates over the next five days.

Collective S&P 500 profits for the three months ending in December are forecast to grow 23.7% from last year to $436.4 billion, according to Refinitiv data, with the energy and materials sector leading the gains.

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report, Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report, Tesla, IBM  (IBM) - Get International Business Machines Corporation Report, General Electric  (GE) - Get General Electric Company Report, Boeing  (BA) - Get Boeing Company Report, AT&T  (T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report, Exxon  (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report, Chevron  (CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report and Caterpillar  (CAT) - Get Caterpillar Inc. Report are but a few of the 104 companies slated to report this week, with investors looking for near-term projections on demand, supply chains and input costs as they assess the potential for generating above-target profits for the current quarter - when earnings growth is expected to slow to around 7%.

That said, Bank of America's weekly "Flow Show" report suggests the world's biggest fund mangers remain bullish: more than $52 billion has flowed into stocks funds so far this year -- a figure that matches last year's early January tally -- and equities still comprise more than 65% of private client holdings.

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3. --  Kohl's Shares Soar As Private Equity Suitors Eye Retailer

Kohl's  (KSS) - Get Kohl's Corporation Report shares soared in pre-market trading as private equity and activist investors line-up competing takeover bids for the struggling department store retailer.

Sycamore Partners, a New York-based private equity group is reportedly offering $65 a share for Kohl's, a price that would value the Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based retailer at around $9 billion.

The reported interest comes only days after several media outlets said activists investor-backed Acacia Research offered $64 a share for Kohl's following public criticism of the group's management from activist investors Macellum Advisors, which owns 5% of the retailer, and the urging of a whole-enterprise sale after what it called a 'lost year' for the department store icon.

Kohl's shares were marked 828.7% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $60.27 each.

4. -- Peloton Shares Gain As Activists Seek CEO Changes, Possible Sale

Peloton Interactive  (PTON) - Get Peloton Interactive, Inc. Class A Report shares extended gains in pre-market trading after activist investors at Blackwells Capital LLC reportedly called for the firing of CEO John Foley, and the potential sale of the fitness equipment maker, following last week's multi-billion sell-off.

Blackwells Capital, which is managed by star investor Jason Aintabi, is reportedly pressing for immediate changes at Peloton and blaming Foley for a series of mis-steps that culminated with a CNBC report on Thursday suggesting it was preparing to halt bike and treadmill production amid a 'significant' pullback in customer demand.

Foley called the report "false", but conceded that cost cuts and output changes were necessary "corrective actions" for the connected fitness group as it pre-announced its revenue projections ahead of next month's fourth quarter earnings release. 

Peloton shares were marked 1.15% higher in pre-market trading Monday to indicate an opening bell price of $27.21 each.

5. -- Bitcoin Extends Slump Amid Network Instability, Price Volatility

Bitcoin prices extended declines following another wild weekend for cryptocurrency traders that included reliability issues at a key blockchain network and further selling for the world's biggest digital coin.

Bitcoin prices hit a six-month low of $33,000 each on Saturday, marking a more than 50% retracement from the all-time highs it reached in mid-November, as holders continue to dump crypto amid increased market volatility, rising interest rates and pressure on leverage accounts that has triggered some forced selling. 

The crypto world was also impacted by 'instability' at Solana, a blockchain network that verifies transactions, amid what it called "high levels of network congestion"  

Bitcoin prices were last seen trading 4.8% lower on the Monday session at $33,520.53 each on the CoinDesk exchange.