Dow Rises, Ericsson Falls, Fed Chair Nomination Looms—and What Else Is Happening in the Stock Market Today

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Current Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is viewed as the favorite to secure Biden’s nomination.

Al Drago/AFP via Getty Images

The stock market was rising Monday, with the possibility of a quiet week around Thanksgiving lying ahead, as anticipation continued to build over who President Joe Biden will nominate to lead the Federal Reserve.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicated an open 100 points higher, after the index fell 268 points Friday to close at 35,601. Futures for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq signaled a start higher.

It could be a quiet week for markets, with investors getting a day off Thursday for Thanksgiving followed by a half-day Friday. Before that, many U.S. economic data are due Wednesday, including the latest minutes of the Fed’s monetary policy committee, jobless claims, and the core personal-consumption expenditure deflator—the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation. Meanwhile, the focus is landing on who Biden will nominate to lead the Fed.

“The most important market event this week is likely to be on the future leadership of the Federal Reserve, as it’s been widely reported that President Biden is expected to announce his choice on who’ll be the next Fed Chair by Thanksgiving on Thursday,” said Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank.

Current Fed Chair Jerome Powell remains the favorite to lead the central bank for another term, but betting odds have recently begun to show Fed Governor Lael Brainard—viewed by markets as more dovish—as a strong underdog.

Previous, self-imposed deadlines on the nomination—Biden said early last week it would come in four days—have slipped, but Reid noted that time was short given that Senate confirmation is needed before Powell’s term expires in early February.

“Biden will give a speech to the American people tomorrow on the economy and prices,” Reid added. “It’s possible the Fed Chair gets announced here and perhaps plans to release oil from the strategic reserve. We will see.”

Overseas, stocks were mixed in Asia, with Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 inching up 0.1%. The pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.2% higher, as the prospect of lockdowns in Europe looms large. Austria entered a new national lockdown Monday, as countries including Germany and the Netherlands face their own surge in coronavirus infections and the possibility of new widespread restrictions.

Oil was bouncing back after prices hit their lowest levels since late September, amid discussions of a coordinated release of strategic stockpiles to tame prices. Japanese media reported Monday that the government planned to go along with Biden’s request to release crude into the market. A decline in demand amid lockdown pressures in Europe also helped to depress prices in recent days.

Futures contracts for international oil benchmark Brent rose more than 0.5% to around $79.30 per barrel, with U.S. futures for West Texas Intermediate crude similarly up to near $76.40.

Here are six stocks on the move Monday

Ericsson (ticker: ERIC) fell near 4% in U.S. premarket trading, after the Finnish telecom group announced it had agreed to buy Vonage (VG)—a U.S. provider of cloud-based communications—for $6.2 billion. Vonage shot up 26% in the premarket.

Telecom Italia (TIT.Italy) shot up more than 22% in Milan, after news that investment group KKR (KKR) made a $12 billion bid to take the company private.

British grocer Marks & Spencer (MKS.U.K.) rose 3% following a report that private-equity group Apollo (APO) was evaluating it in recent months and has found the company to be a bargain.

Vestas Wind Systems (VWS.Denmark) slipped 2.4% in Copenhagen, after the company said it was hit by a cybersecurity incident and had to shut down its computer systems across multiple business units and locations.

Tesla (TSLA) was a standout riser in the U.S. premarket, up 2.8%. CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter Monday that the Model S Plaid—a high-performance luxury electric-vehicle—would “probably” be coming to China around March.

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