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Geopolitical Tensions Propel Oil Prices Higher Amid Middle East Concerns and Global Supply Disruptions

Oil prices saw an early uptick on Tuesday, driven by mounting geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, heightening concerns about potential disruptions in the global oil supply chain. Brent crude futures increased by 0.3%, or 25 cents, reaching $82.65 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose by 0.4%, or 31 cents, hitting $77.09 a barrel as of 0105 GMT.

The previous day witnessed a decline of over $1 in both contracts, triggered by escalating concerns over Chinese demand following a Hong Kong court’s decision to liquidate property giant China Evergrande Group amidst a deepening real estate crisis. However, analysts emphasize that the oil market remains jittery due to growing worries about oil supply. The U.S. pledged to take “all necessary actions” in response to a fatal drone attack in Jordan by Iran-backed militants, marking the first U.S. military casualties since the start of the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Highlighting the significance of Iran’s role, analysts noted that the country exported 1.2-1.6 million barrels per day of crude oil in most of 2023, representing 1-1.5% of the global oil supply. Furthermore, an attack on a Trafigura oil tanker in the Red Sea over the weekend has heightened concerns about potential disruptions in the oil supply, with increased risks of U.S. involvement in the conflict, according to ANZ analysts.

The surge in oil prices precedes a Federal Reserve rate decision as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) commences a two-day meeting on Tuesday. While interest rates are expected to be held steady, some investors anticipate a shift away from the central bank’s current hiking bias.

Looking ahead, a Reuters poll suggests expectations of a decline in U.S. crude oil and distillates inventories from the previous week, coupled with an increase in gasoline stocks. The American Petroleum Institute will release U.S. stockpiles data on Tuesday at 4:30 pm EST, with the Energy Information Administration’s report scheduled for Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EST. Investors will closely monitor these figures for insights into the dynamics of the U.S. energy market.

US Stock Futures Display Mixed Signals Amid Earnings Reports and Anticipation of Fed Meeting

As Monday night unfolded, US stock futures showed a mixed picture as investors assessed the latest corporate earnings and awaited the Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy meeting. By 6:20 pm ET (11:20 pm GMT), Dow Jones Futures edged 0.1% lower, S&P 500 Futures remained flat, and Nasdaq 100 Futures posted a modest 0.1% gain.

In the after-hours trading arena, Nucor Corp (NYSE:NUE) rose by 1.3%, reporting earnings per share (EPS) of $3.16, beating expectations of $2.93, with revenues totaling $7.7 billion compared to the anticipated $7.57 billion. Super Micro Computer Inc (NASDAQ:SMCI) surged by 10.4%, revealing an EPS of $5.59, surpassing the expected $4.51, and reporting revenues of $3.66 billion against an estimate of $2.8 billion.

However, Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc (NYSE:ARE) experienced a 0.4% dip, reporting a loss of $0.54 per share, falling short of the expected EPS of $0.56, while revenues came in at $757.2 million, slightly below the anticipated $740.16 million. Graco Inc (NYSE:GGG) slipped 1.3%, reporting an EPS of $0.8, slightly exceeding the expected $0.79, with revenues reaching $566.6 million against the estimated $562.98 million.

During the regular Monday session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both achieved their sixth record close of the year, gaining 0.6% and 0.8%, respectively, while the NASDAQ Composite added 1.1%.

Market enthusiasm was fueled by the US Treasury Department’s announcement of lower-than-expected borrowing in Q1, attributed to projected increases in net fiscal flows and a higher cash balance at the quarter’s onset. Attention now turns to upcoming earnings reports from tech giants Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), key players in the “Magnificent 7” driving the S&P 500’s gains. Other major companies, including Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:META), and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), are set to release their quarterly financials later in the week.

The spotlight also falls on General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and United Parcel Service Inc (NYSE:UPS), reporting before Tuesday’s opening bell, while Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) will unveil its results after the market closes. As investors fine-tune expectations for Wednesday’s monetary policy announcement and press conference, Tuesday’s economic data on housing, the labor market, and consumer confidence will be closely monitored. In the bond markets, US 10-Year rates were noted at 4.075%.

Calix Faces Investor Headwinds as Q1 Guidance Falls Short Amid Telecom Pause and Government Stimulus Deliberations

Calix faced a setback as it reported first-quarter guidance that fell significantly below Wall Street’s expectations, causing a 22% plunge in its stock during afterhours trading. The company projected adjusted earnings per share (EPS) for Q1 to be in the range of $0.17 to $0.23, with revenue expected to fall between $225 million and $231 million.

These figures fell well short of analyst estimates, which had anticipated an EPS of $0.38 and revenue of $267.5 million. The disappointing outlook was attributed to a slowdown in appliance shipments, as telecom service providers hesitated to make broadband appliance purchases. This hesitation stemmed from the providers’ intention to evaluate spending plans carefully and explore opportunities to secure government funding, particularly from initiatives like the U.S. Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEAD), a $42 billion program aimed at enhancing high-speed internet access and adoption across the nation.

Despite this cautious outlook, Calix did report better-than-expected results for Q4, with adjusted EPS of $0.43 and revenue of $264.7 million, surpassing estimates of $0.36 and $264.4 million, respectively.

In the world of investing, the only sure thing is that nothing is ever entirely certain – it’s a rollercoaster ride where the only guarantee is that you’ll experience both the thrilling highs and the stomach-churning lows. So, buckle up, sharpen your financial wit, and get ready for the wild ride on the rollercoaster of wealth creation!