Stocks Subdued After Yesterday's Drop

U.S. stocks are choppy in pre-market trading on the heels of yesterday's drop ahead of tomorrow's comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Unrest in China as protests erupted in the region in response to its zero-tolerance COVID policy has unnerved the global markets, but optimism appears to remain that the country may ease COVID-related restrictions. Equity news is light, with Dow member UnitedHealth Group issuing mixed 2023 guidance, while Chemours issued a full-year outlook that came in below estimates. In economic news, home prices cooled, and after the opening bell, we will get the release of the Consumer Confidence Index. Treasury yields are ticking mostly higher, and the U.S. dollar is declining. Crude oil and gold prices are advancing. Asia finished mostly to the upside, with mainland Chinese and Hong Kong markets leading the way amid the lingering optimism that COVID restrictions may ease and as China announced further measures to support its property market. Europe is mixed as the markets monitor the developments in China and mixed economic data in the region.

As of 8:51 a.m. ET, the December S&P 500 Index future is 1 point below fair value, and the DJIA future is 49 points south of fair value, while the Nasdaq Index future is 14 points above fair value. WTI crude oil is rising $1.43 to $78.67 per barrel and Brent crude oil is increasing $1.79 to $85.68 per barrel. The gold spot price is advancing $10.40 to $1,750.70 per ounce. Elsewhere, the Dollar Index is decreasing 0.2% to 106.45.

Dow member UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH $532) reaffirmed its current year earnings-per-share (EPS) guidance, while issuing 2023 EPS guidance with a midpoint below FactSet estimates. However, the company delivered 2023 revenue guidance that was above expectations. The guidance comes ahead of its annual investor conference that will take place tomorrow.

Chemours Co. (CC $31) issued full-year guidance below expectations after the Teflon maker said market demand for titanium dioxide has weakened in Q4, particularly in Europe and Asia amid an increasingly uncertain global outlook. CC also said Q4 seasonality and higher raw material costs are impacting its thermal & specialized solutions and advanced performance materials units.

Q3 earnings season is mostly in the books, 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.