On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen by 240 points. This is despite the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalating to what could be one of the worst geopolitical crises since the cold war. Also, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he has canceled a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after Russia had sent troops into two separatist regions in Ukraine. Ukraine’s foreign ministry has urged all its citizens to leave Russia, warning that the escalating Russia aggression against Ukraine could limit consular assistance. The military in Ukraine has also announced that it was calling up all reservists aged 18 to 60 after the president’s order.
On more uplifting news, the U.S. has seen daily coronavirus infections plummet by 90% from its pandemic high less than six weeks ago. Elsewhere, Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) added over 4% on today’s opening bell after the company beat both top and bottom-line estimates for the fourth quarter. Notably, it earned $1.78 per share, which is $0.07 above estimates. The company also announced an upbeat full-year guidance as demand for tools remains elevated.
Among the Dow Jones leaders, shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) are up 0.75% today while Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is also up by 0.76%. 3M (NYSE: MMM) and Nike (NYSE: NKE) are trading mixed on Wednesday. Among the Dow financial leaders, Visa (NYSE: V) is up by 0.47% while JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) also opened higher at 0.67%.
Shares of EV leader Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) are up by 0.06% on Wednesday. Rival EV companies like Rivian (NASDAQ: RIVN) are down by 2.31%. Lucid Group (NASDAQ: LCID) is also trading lower at 0.31%. Chinese EV leaders like Nio (NYSE: NIO) and Xpeng Motors (NYSE: XPEV) are trading higher today.
Dow Jones Today: Total Mortgage Applications Decrease To Lowest In Over 2 Years
Following the stock market opening on Wednesday, the S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq are trading higher by 0.67%, 0.53%, and 0.74% respectively. Among exchange-traded funds, the Nasdaq 100 tracker Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA: SPY) are both trading higher at 0.70% and 0.67% as well.
As tensions continue to escalate between Ukraine and Russia, yields have retreated. The yield on the benchmark U.S.10-year Treasury yield has fallen below 2%. International benchmark Brent crude continues to trade as high as $99.50 per barrel, the highest it has been since the last 7 years. Experts say that geopolitical risks could lead to a slower growth cycle as energy costs could continue to skyrocket. This would in turn inhibit large parts of the economic recovery as countries look to move towards the endemic phase.
Total mortgage applications have decreased 13.1% last week to the lowest level since December 2019. This comes as climbing mortgage rates are hitting both potential homebuyers and refinance candidates. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, applications to refinance dropped 15% weekly and were 56% lower than a year ago. Home prices have also been climbing steadily and did not falter in 2021.
[Read More] Top Stock Market News For Today February 23, 2022
The likes of e-commerce firm Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) appear to be in focus today. Evidently, shares of the furniture selling company are gaining rapidly by over 30% today. All in all, Overstock posted an earnings per share of $0.68, crushing analyst estimates of $0.29. Additionally, this also marks a sizable year-over-year leap of 161%. Looking at its full fiscal year results, the company appears to be gaining momentum as well. Namely, Overstock raked in a total net revenue of $2.8 billion throughout the fiscal year. This adds up to an increase of about 11% year-over-year, following its record growth in 2020. More importantly, the company notes that this is almost double of its “pre-pandemic run-rate.”
In the larger scheme of things, this could be due to consumers spending more on home improvement. Amidst the pandemic, this would be understandable. Providing further insight into Overstock’s performance for the quarter is CEO Jonathan Johnson. Johnson explains, “The foundational operational improvements we have made over the past two years have stabilized the business and positioned us well to navigate through economic- and industry-specific cycles over the long term.” Moreover, Overstock also cites almost one-third of overall home furniture and furnishings transactions happening online as an encouraging long-term growth driver. With all this in mind, the current bump in OSTK stock is not all that surprising.
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Palo Alto Networks Gains Following Earnings Beat And Guidance Hike
Meanwhile, Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ: PANW) appears to be among the top head turners in the stock market today. For the most part, this comes as the company posted stellar figures across the board in its latest quarterly update. After yesterday’s closing bell, the cybersecurity titan posted earnings of $1.74 per share on revenue of $1.32 billion for the quarter. Notably, this handily tops Wall Street’s estimates of $1.65 and $1.28 billion respectively. Overall, it seems that the company continues to benefit from broad-based tailwinds in the cybersecurity industry now. Seeing as this is even amidst the year-to-date downturn in tech stocks, PANW could be worth noting.
That’s not all, the company also provided positive updates regarding its expectations for the current quarter. For its fiscal-third quarter, Palo Alto is guiding for an earnings per share of between $1.65 and $1.68. This would be above consensus expectations of $1.63. In doing so, the company would also, by extension, be raising its outlook for the fiscal year. Now, its earnings per share forecast for the year is at a range of $7.23 to $7.30, up from previous estimates of $7.15 to $7.25. By and large, Palo Alto appears to be going from strength to strength and is confident moving forward.
Weighing in on all this is CEO Nikesh Arora. He highlights that Palo Alto is done with the integrations of its M&A’s from the past few years. In his words, “All of our products are now seamlessly integrated and can have organic development continuing in them.” As a result of all this, PANW stock is currently up by over 7% at today’s opening bell.
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