US stock futures point to a mixed start for Wall Street ahead of Thursday’s open after the Federal Reserve had signaled a pause in its rate hike plans, whilst a series of blue-chip companies posted stronger-than-expected earnings and profit guidance which looks to have eased concerns over the prospect of a damaging slowdown in China.
Jerome Powell’s dovish tilt on interest rates marked a significant change to the bank’s hawkish stance, stressed only six weeks ago. The Fed Chairman said that weakening global growth, along with the lack of US inflationary pressures, meant the central bank was able to “be patient” in its assessment of further policy tightening.
In a statement, the central bank said: “The Committee will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate.”
These pledges of patience added to a market already buoyed, earlier in the day, by positive reactions to quarterly earnings from a number of closely watched companies, including Apple (AAPL: +6.83%), Boeing (BA: +6.25%) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD: 19.95%).
The S&P 500 closed positive +1.58%, more than doubling its gain following the Fed’s policy decision.
The Dow Jones and Nasdaq Composite advanced +1.82% and +2.54% in a similar fashion.
In today’s economic data, investors are likely to track Weekly Jobless Claims, Employment Cost as well as Personal Income and Spending figures at 8:30am EST; with Chicago PMI data and New Home Sales scheduled later at 9:45am EST and 10am EST respectively.
On the earnings front, GE, MO, CELG, DWDP, HSY, BX, CHTR, RTN, CNX, BAX, CMS, MMC, ABC, BLL, BHGE, APO, APTV, KEM, IP, NOC, COP, PH, TSCO, ETN and XEL are amongst the major earnings released before market open.
While; AMZN, SYMC, YUMC, AFL, MCK, AJG, EMN and EW are scheduled to report after today’s close.
TODAY’S TOP HEADLINES:
Economy & Markets: Central Banks Shift on Plans to Pull Back Stimulus in Attempt to Buoy Growth. (The WSJ)
A slowing global economy and low inflation has central banks around the world rethinking plans to gradually pull back financial stimulus from markets and the banking system. The role reversal could support the economy in the months ahead and bolster markets and sectors like housing and autos.
North America & Weather: That Brutal Blast of Midwest Cold Is Only Going to Get Worse. (The NYT)
Low temperatures early Thursday morning were expected to reach minus 23 Fahrenheit (minus 31 Celsius) at Chicago Midway International Airport, with wind-chill values as low as minus 39, according to the National Weather Service.
Today’s Economical Announcements
08:30AM – ★★☆ – Weekly Jobless Claims (Previous: 199,000)
08:30AM – ★★☆ – Employment Cost (QoQ) (Q4) (Previous: 0.8%)
08:30AM – ★★☆ – PCE Deflator (YoY) (Previous: 1.8%)
08:30AM – ★★☆ – PCE Deflator (MoM) (Previous: 0.1%)
08:30AM – ★☆☆ – Personal Income (MoM) (Dec) (Previous: 0.2%)
08:30AM – ★★☆ – Personal Spending (MoM) (Dec) (Previous: 0.4%)
09:45AM – ★★☆ – Chicago PMI (Jan) (Previous: 65.4)
10:00AM – ★★☆ – New Home Sales (MoM) (Nov) (Previous: -8.9%)
10:00AM – ★★★ – New Home Sales (Nov) (Previous: 544,000)
STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks
Facebook (FB): [EARNINGS] Beat estimates by 19 cents a share, with quarterly profit of $2.38 per share. Revenue beat forecasts.
DowDupont (DWDP): [EARNINGS] Earned an adjusted 88 cents per share for the fourth quarter, a penny a share above estimates. Revenue short of estimates.
General Electric (GE): [EARNINGS] Missed estimates by 5 cents a share, with adjusted quarterly profit of 17 cents per share. Revenue beat forecasts.
Tesla (TSLA): [EARNINGS] Earned an adjusted $1.93 per share for its latest quarter, missing the $2.20 a share consensus estimate. Revenue beat forecasts.
PayPal (PYPL): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of 69 cents per share, 2 cents a share above estimates. Revenue essentially in line with forecasts, however PayPal gave a lower-than-expected revenue outlook for the current quarter.
UPS (UPS): [EARNINGS] Earned an adjusted $1.94 per share for the fourth quarter, 4 cents a share above estimates. Revenue fell short of forecasts.
Microsoft (MSFT): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.10 per share, beating consensus estimates by a penny a share. Revenue short of forecasts.
Qualcomm (QCOM): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.20 per share, 11 cents a share above estimates. Revenue fell short of forecasts.
Visa (V): [EARNINGS] Beat estimates by 5 cents a share, with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.30 per share. Revenue beat estimates.
Hershey (HSY): [EARNINGS] Missed estimates by a penny a share, with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.26 per share. Revenue shy of estimates.
Blackstone (BX): [EARNINGS] Posted quarterly economic net loss of 2 cents per share, compared to estimates of a breakeven quarter. Revenue well above estimates.
Tailgrass Energy (TGE): [BUYOUT] Affiliates of Blackstone (BX) will acquire a controlling stake in the energy infrastructure company for $3.3 billion in cash.
Mondelez International (MDLX): [EARNINGS] Matched Street forecasts with adjusted quarterly profit of 63 cents per share. Revenue in line with expectations.
Wynn Resorts (WYNN): [EARNINGS] Earned an adjusted $1.06 per share for its latest quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.35 a share. Revenue above forecasts.
General Motors (GM): [NEWS] GM temporarily suspended production at 11 Michigan plants and its Warren Tech Center.
United Natural Foods (UNFI): [NEWS] United Natural sued Goldman Sachs (GS) and Bank of America (BAC). The food distributor claimed the investment banks put their own financial interests ahead of United Natural’s when advising it on the acquisition of Supervalu last year.
UnitedHealth Group (UNH): [NEWS] The health insurer is suing to stop former executive David Smith from joining the new joint health care venture formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase. UnitedHealth claims the move violates Smith’s noncompete agreement.
GAINERS: CLF, SYK, RCL, XRX, DOV
LOSERS: MIK, BEN, CDK
New Fortress Energy (NFE) (Price: 15) Shares: 20M)