Markets Mixed in Return from Holiday

U.S. equities are mixed in pre-market trading, but the markets are on track to post weekly gains for the holiday-shortened week. Trading is likely to be subdued in today's abbreviated session, and a dormant economic calendar is unable to provide any sway. Equity news is also in short supply, but shares of Activision Blizzard are suffering in the wake of a report that Microsoft's $69 billion bid to acquire the video game maker could face some legal scrutiny from regulators. Meanwhile, the retail sector is likely to garner some focus, as incoming data on how this year's Black Friday is shaping up may be of heightened interest. Treasury yields are higher, and the U.S. dollar is ticking to the upside. Crude oil and gold prices are trading higher. Asia finished out the week mixed, and Europe is higher in lackluster trading.

As of 8:50 a.m. ET, the December S&P 500 Index future is 1 point below fair value, the DJIA future is 22 points above fair value, and the Nasdaq Index future is 41 points south of fair value. WTI crude oil is up $1.04 at $79.98 per barrel and Brent crude oil is gaining $0.72 to $85.96 per barrel. The gold spot price is advancing $1.50 to $1,747.10 per ounce. Elsewhere, the Dollar Index is increasing 0.3% to 106.34.

Shares of Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI $77) are seeing pressure after Politico reports that the Federal Trade Commission is likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft's (MSFT $248) $69 billion takeover of the video game maker. If regulators decide to move forward with the case, it could come as soon as next month, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The markets are also eyeing any incoming sales reports from this year's Black Friday, as a record 166.3 million people are expected to shop over the long weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. The focus on the holiday shopping season comes amid some disappointing results and warnings of sluggish sales from some retail behemoths like Target Corporation (TGT $163) and Macy's Inc. (M $23).

Earnings season is in its final stages, and Schwab's Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders discusses in her article, Disappearing Act: Earnings, how earnings weakness is starting to materialize across a broader swath of industries, with hits coming from a strong dollar, weaker demand, and aggressive monetary policy.

Treasury yields higher amid dormant economic calendar

Treasury yields are higher, with the economic calendar void of any releases today, as the yield on the 2-year note is up 1 basis point (bp) to 4.51%, the yield on the 10-year note is gaining 4 bps to 3.74%, and the 30-year bond is 5 bp higher at 3.77%.

Market volatility has continued this week amid the release of the rest of the October inflation picture, and stocks are on track to add to last week's rally that came in the wake of the softer-than-expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) data. Schwab's Liz Ann Sonders discusses in her latest article, Swing, Swing: Wild Week, how a better-than-expected October CPI report provided some relief and support for equities, but investors should be wary of low-quality leadership and, to some extent, crypto stress.