Brocker.Org: US stocks face a muted start, even as Amazon, Alphabet get set to roar – MarketWatch

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Wall Street was set for a slightly lower open Friday, as investors braced for more earnings and a possible government shutdown, a day after Nasdaq closed at a fresh record high.

A first reading on U.S. economic growth in the first quarter could also drive trading action later in the day.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average

YMM7, -0.01%

 slipped 12 points, or 0.1%, to 20,886, while those for the S&P 500 index

ESM7, +0.04%

 lost 0.10 point to 2,386. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index

NQM7, +0.03%

 lost 3.25 points or 0.1% to 5,587.75.right

The Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, +0.39%

 on Thursday logged a record close, ahead of after-hours earnings releases from tech heavyweights Microsoft Corp.

MSFT, +0.65%

 , Amazon.com Inc.

AMZN, +1.00%

 and Alphabet Inc.

GOOG, +0.29%

GOOGL, +0.26%

 . For the week, the index was set for a 2.3% climb as of Thursday’s close.

Alphabet shares rallied 4.7% in premarket trading Friday after the Google parent posted earnings that beat expectations. Amazon shares gained 3.9%, also after topping profit forecasts, while Microsoft shares were down 0.4% in the early going after a revenue miss.

The Alphabet and Amazon “numbers underline the fact that U.S. corporate results have been good this quarter and suggest that the rally since the Trump election is well underpinned,” said Mihir Kapadia, CEO at Sun Global Investments, in a note.

The S&P 500 index

SPX, +0.06%

 and Dow average

DJIA, +0.03%

 both nudged higher at the close on Thursday, setting them on track for a weekly gains of 1.7% and 2.1%, respectively.

As the month of April comes to a close, all three major indexes are set for their best monthly performance since February. The Nasdaq is poised to gain 2.3%, the Dow industrials, 1.5% and the S&P 500, 1.1%.

Earnings season: Friday was shaping up as another busy day. Ahead of the bell, oil heavyweights Exxon Mobil Corp.

XOM, -0.17%

 and Chevron Corp.

CVX, -0.58%

 were slated to report, along with Colgate-Palmolive Co.

CL, -0.27%

 , VF Corp.

VFC, +1.78%

  and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

GT, -1.01%

 .

Preview: Exxon, Chevron earnings — growth plans under the microscope

Stock movers: Shares of Western Digital Corp.

WDC, +1.30%

 surged 8% before the bell after the computer-data storage company late Thursday reported revenue and profit that topped forecasts.

Intel Corp.

INTC, +1.35%

 slid 3.8% premarket, even after it reported a 45% jump in quarterly earnings late Thursday.

Starbucks Corp.

SBUX, -0.42%

 lost 4.7% in the early going after the coffee chain’s revenue targets fell short of consensus forecasts.

U.S.-listed shares of Barclays Bank PLC

BCS, +0.44%

BARC, -5.14%

 and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC

RBS, +0.77%

 dropped 4.7% and rose 2.5% respectively in premarket trading, after the British lenders’ earnings reports. At the same time, shares of UBS Group AG

UBS, -0.06%

  jumped 3.7% after the Swiss banking giant reported earnings well ahead of forecasts.

Shares of GoPro Inc.

GPRO, -2.19%

 climbed 1.1% before the bell. The action camera maker late Thursday reported better-than-expected first-quarter results and second-quarter outlook.

Shutdown threat: Another focus for investors is a potential government shutdown this weekend. Government funding expires at 12:01 a.m. Eastern on Saturday, though Congress is expected to pass a one-week spending bill to keep the government going a while longer. However, that move does not erase the possibility of the first shutdown since 2013.

“If there’s a shutdown, there’s a shutdown,” President Donald Trump told Reuters in an interview on Thursday, adding that it was a wait-and-see situation.

Read: Here’s what would happen during a government shutdown

Geopolitical worries may also linger after Trump told Reuters in that same interview that a “major, major conflict” with North Korea is possible. He said he may cancel or renegotiate a five-year-old free-trade agreement with South Korea, citing a large deficit with that country.

Economic data: A reading on gross domestic product for the first quarter is set for release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. GDP is expected to rise 0.9% in the first quarter, according to economists polled by MarketWatch, following growth rates of 2.1% and 3.5% in the prior two quarters.

Check out: Here comes another first-quarter GDP downer

The employment cost index is also due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. Those reports are followed by the Chicago purchasing managers index for April at 9:45 a.m. Eastern, then consumer sentiment for April at 10 a.m. Eastern.

See: MarketWatch’s economic calendar

“This is the first quarter under President Trump and traders will be looking to see if his impact on the economy has been as positive as his impact on the stock market,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Other markets: Crude oil prices

CLM7, +0.84%

 rebounded on Friday, up 0.7% after settling at their lowest level in about a month on Thursday.

Gold

GCM7, +0.19%

 and other metals were higher, while the dollar

DXY, -0.42%

 retreated against most other major currencies.

Asian stock markets closed mixed, while European equities were mostly lower.

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