Friday, January 15, 2021 – U.S. stocks are lower in early trading Friday as investors digest the unofficial start to fourth-quarter earnings season and economic data releases. A stimulus announcement from the incoming Biden administration is also in focus, after the President-elect outlined a $1.9 trillion stimulus package on Thursday night. Sentiment is being dampened, however, amid speculation that the increase in government spending could bring about higher taxes. The Dow is slipping 142 points, while the S&P 500 is declining 0.5%. The Nasdaq Composite is off 0.3%.

In earnings, JPMorgan is losing 1.7% after the world’s largest bank by market cap topping Wall Street earnings and sales projections. Citigroup is also down 4.3% after the bank missed consensus sales estimates amid a reported 10% drop in revenue. PNC Financial Services Group is falling 1.4% despite beating on the top and bottom line. Breadth is negative on issues by 3:1 on the NYSE and by 2:1 the Nasdaq.

On the data front, retail sales fell 0.7% in December, below consensus estimates of a flat reading but slightly better than the downwardly revised 1.4% decrease reported in November. A preliminary report from the University of Michigan showed consumer sentiment eased to 79.2 in January from 80.7 the prior month. Another release revealed industrial production jumped 1.6% in the final month of 2020, above the November increase of 0.5%. Finally, a gauge of manufacturing activity in the New York Fed region for January unexpectedly fell. Treasuries are advancing, with the 10-year note yield down two basis points to 1.11%.

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