Stocks Fall Sharply, Oil Prices Plunge; GameStop Spikes As Tesla Deliveries Loom

Dow Jones futures rose slightly overnight, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures. The stock market rally sold off into the close on Thursday, while crude oil prices plunged as President Joe Biden announced a major release of US strategic reserves.




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GameStop (GME) said late Thursday that it would seek shareholder approval for a GME stock split, following a similar plan from Tesla (TSLA) earlier in the week. GME stock leapt overnight, while fellow meme stocks AMC Entertainment (AMC) and Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) also popped.

The March jobs report looms large Friday morning. It’s also a big day for auto sales as well. General Motors (GM) and other big automakers will release US auto sales data Friday morning. China EV makers Nio (NIO), Xpeng (XPEV) and Li Auto (LI) will likely report March EV deliveries before the open. Tesla could announce global first-quarter deliveries as soon as Friday.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) tumbled on an analyst downgrade, even as rival Nvidia (NVDA) is holding its big recent rebound. The AMD and Nvidia stock charts show the risks and rewards of buying former leaders breaking steep downtrends.

Auto Sales

GM will release first-quarter US auto sales on Friday, while Toyota (TM), Stellantis (STLA) and others will release US results for March and Q1. Ford Motor (F) may release its results early next week. Industry sales are likely to be down vs. down. February and off sharply vs. March 2021, as chip woes and other supply-chain constraints limit production, despite strong demand. Shares of GM, Ford, Toyota and Stellantis are slightly below their falling 50-day moving averages.

Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto should report a rebound in deliveries, after the Chinese New Year took a toll on February sales. Nio stock and Li Auto fell below their 50-day moving averages on Thursday, losing about 5%. XPEV stock retreated 3%, with delisting fears still affecting US-listed Chinese companies. All three China EV makers are well below any possible buy points.

Tesla Deliveries

Tesla deliveries could come Friday, though they might come as late as Tuesday. That report could be a big catalyst for Tesla stock, which currently has a 1,208.10 cup-base buy point, according to MarketSmith analysis. Investors expect strong results for the EV giant, though the Tesla Shanghai plant is temporarily closed again over China Covid concerns. Tesla stock fell 1.5% to 1,077.60.

TSLA stock could be working on a handle, but needs a meaningful pullback to shake out weak holders after a huge run from the bottom of its base.

Microsoft stock and Nvidia are on IBD Leaderboard. Microsoft and Google stock are IBD Long-Term Leaders. Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, AMD and Tesla stock are all on the IBD 50.

GME Stock Split Plan

GME stock shot up 17% overnight as GameStop said it would ask shareholders to approve a stock split of some kind. On Monday, TSLA stock spiked 8% as the EV giant said it would seek approval for a split at the annual shareholder meeting. AMC stock and BBBY stock rose modestly in extended trade.

Stock splits had fallen out of favor since the dot-com era, but have recently revived for share prices that have topped 1,000. For Tesla, Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) and Amazon.com (AMZN), which also plan big splits, a cheaper share price makes options contracts in reach of far more investors. But GME stock, which closed at 166.58 on Thursday, is not in that category. For AMC and BBBY stock, which closed above 20 on Thursday, splits really aren’t on the table.

Dow Jones Futures Today

Dow Jones futures rose 0.35% vs. fair value. S&P 500 futures climbed 0.3%. Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.2%.

Remember that overnight action in Dow futures and elsewhere does not necessarily translate into actual trading in the next regular stock market session.


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Jobs Report

The Labor Department will release the March jobs report at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect nonfarm payrolls to show a gain of 455,000, with the jobless rate dipping to 3.7%. Wage gains and labor force participation will be closely watched.

The jobs report will likely swing Dow Jones futures and bond yields.

Stock Market Rally

The stock market rally pulled back for a second straight session, adding to losses late in the day as the major indexes closed out their first losing quarter in two years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.6% in Thursday’s stock market trading. The S&P 500 index also slumped 1.6%, with AMD stock its biggest loser. The Nasdaq composite gave up 1.5%. The small-cap Russell 2000 retreated 1%.

US crude oil prices plunged 7% to $ 100.28 a barrel, the lowest close in two weeks. President Joe Biden announced a major release of strategic oil reserves, supplying 1 million barrels a day for the next six months. That will provide an incremental boost to global oil supplies amid Russia’s Ukraine invasion. Energy stocks fared relatively well.

The 10-year Treasury yield fell 3 basis points to 2.33%.

ETFs

Among the best ETFs, the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) fell 0.9%, while the Innovator IBD Breakout Opportunities ETF (BOUT) fell 0.7%. The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) pulled back 0.75%. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) retreated 2%, with AMD stock and Nvidia major components.

SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) dipped 0.6% and the Global X US Infrastructure Development ETF (PAVE) declined 1.15%. US Global Jets ETF (JETS) edged up 0.3%. SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) plunged 3.9%. The Energy Select SPDR ETF (XLE) slid 1.35%. The Financial Select SPDR ETF (XLF) stumbled 2.3%. The Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV) lost 1%

Reflecting more-speculative story stocks, ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) skidded 3.5% and ARK Genomics ETF (ARKG) 1.8%. Tesla stock remains the No. 1 holding across Ark Invest’s ETFs. Ark also owns some Nio and XPEV stock.


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AMD Stock

AMD stock plunged 8.3% to 109.36, knifing below its 50-day and 200-day moving averages in heavy volume. Barclays downgraded AMD stock on Thursday, fearing slower growth in its PC and gaming markets next year. On Monday, Goldman Sachs downgraded the chipmaker.

On March 24, AMD stock jumped above its 50-day and 200-day lines and broke a downtrend, offering an aggressive entry. But while such trades certainly can work, they involve high risks.

Nvidia Stock

Nvidia stock, meanwhile, reclaimed its 200-day on March 17, a week ahead of AMD. Shares surged on March 18 and then again on March 24, as NVDA stock cleared some short-term resistance. Those moves offered a couple of early entries.

On Thursday, shares fell 1.5% to 272.86. While Nvidia competes with AMD in gaming and data centers, it’s not in PC chips.

Nvidia stock could be working on a handle, but that would be, at best, at the midpoint of a deep, undefined base. A handle would look more appealing if Nvidia rose to 300 or a little above that.

Market Rally Analysis

The stock market rally retreated for a second straight session. The Nasdaq has stopped just short of its 200-day line. The Dow Jones fell back below that level and the S&P 500 moved back toward it.

Though it’s not fun to see the indexes pull back, this is still normal and healthy action so far.

Ideally, the market would move sideways or slightly lower for at least a few more days. That would help the likes of Apple (AAPL), Tesla stock or even Nvidia form handles – or pull back to bullish support levels. A market break that just starts to make investors nervous about the market or various stocks would likely be positive – assuming the upside momentum returns.

The market rally still seems broad-based, though the leading sectors shift day to day.


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What To Do Now

The stock market rally looks healthy, but that does not mean you have to be doing much buying right now. It’s probably a good time to be sitting and watching, holding on to current positions that are working, and waiting to see what the market and leading stocks do next.

When a new market rally is racing higher, the vast majority of stocks will join in. A less-heated advance and occasional pullbacks will separate the leaders and laggards.

There aren’t a lot of great setups right now, with many stocks extended from breakouts or from running up from the bottom. A few names, such as Apple stock, could be working on handles, but those are still days away.

Build up those watchlists so you’ll be ready if and when the market firms up and buy signals flourish.

Read The Big Picture every day to stay in sync with the market direction and leading stocks and sectors.

Please follow Ed Carson on Twitter at @IBD_ECarson for stock market updates and more.

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