Stock Futures Rise Ahead of Big Earnings Day
By William Horner
U.S. stock futures edged higher ahead of a busy day of earnings
reports and the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th
Futures tied to the S&P 500 rose 0.4% Wednesday, while
contracts linked to the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 rose 0.8%. Dow Jones
Industrial Average futures were up 0.2%.
Earnings from Morgan Stanley, Procter & Gamble, UnitedHealth
and U.S. Bancorp are due before the opening bell. United Airlines
will release its earnings just after markets close.
Stocks have begun the week on an upbeat note, with all three
major indexes hovering just below their record highs. Investors
remain optimistic that fiscal stimulus is supporting businesses
through the damage wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
That will put pressure on companies to deliver during this
earnings season and meet the market's expectations, said Brian
O'Reilly, head of market strategy at Mediolanum Investment
"Any company that is likely to miss or modestly disappoint on
earnings will be punished quite heavily," said Mr. O'Reilly. "A lot
of optimism has already been priced in and typically you don't get
too much room for maneuver when a stock is at a historic high."
Ahead of the opening bell, shares of Netflix rose over 12% after
the streaming company said it had topped 200 million
Chinese internet giant Alibaba jumped 8.5% in Hong Kong after
the company's embattled owner, Jack Ma, made his first public
appearance in three months, ending concerns about his
As earnings reports pick up, focus is likely to center on
sectors most exposed to the U.S. economy, such as banks and energy
companies, and those which have suffered the most during the
pandemic, such as leisure and hospitality, said Hugh Gimber, a
strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
"The most interesting thing will be how much leveling-off do we
see, how much are last year's laggards able to catch up," he
The inauguration of Joe Biden as president is scheduled to begin
at midday ET amid tight security in the capital. Mr. Biden has laid
out plans for a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package to help
Americans get through the economic shock of the pandemic and direct
money into testing and vaccine distribution.
In commodity markets, Brent crude, the international benchmark
for oil, rose 0.8% to $56.38 a barrel. Gold prices rose 0.7% to
$1,852 a troy ounce.
Overseas, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.4%. In Asia, stocks
indexes were mixed. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.4%, while the Hang Seng
Index rose 1.1% and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.5%.
Write to William Horner at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 20, 2021 05:02 ET (10:02 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.