Tuesday April 16th


Dow futures rise more than 150 points as UnitedHealth surges on earnings

U.S. stock index futures rose on Tuesday as investors cheered strong earnings from UnitedHealth Group and Johnson & Johnson. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 176 points to indicate a gain of 167.23 points at the open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to strong gains at the open. UnitedHealth Group shares were up nearly 3% in the premarket after the company reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue. The company also raised its earnings guidance for the full year. Johnson & Johnson, another Dow component, climbed 1.9% on stronger-than-forecast quarterly results. More than half of its revenue came from prescription drug sales, which increased by more than 4%. Other companies that posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings include Bank of America and BlackRock. The corporate earnings season is off to a strong start. Nearly 84% of the S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have beaten analyst earnings expectations, FactSet data shows. IBM, Netflix, and CSX are among the companies set to report after Tuesday’s close. Equities also got a boost from dovish remarks made by Federal Reserve officials. Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said the central bank does not need to adjust monetary policy at the moment, noting: “We have to continue to watch what’s happening with financial stability issues.” Rosengren’s remarks follow Chicago Fed President Charles Evans telling CNBC that rates can stay unchanged until the fall of 2020. “For me, that’s to help support the inflation outlook and make sure it’s sustainable,” he said. On the data front, a report on U.S. industrial production and capacity utilization is due at 9.15 a.m. ET, and the National Association of Home Builders survey will be out at 10 a.m. ET. Stocks in Asia were mostly higher on Tuesday, as U.S.-Japan trade talks kicked off and the Bank of Japan chief flagged risks of increasing trade protectionism to the global economic growth outlook. The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.24 percent to close at 22,221.66. The Topix index, however, slipped fractionally to end its trading day at 1,626.46. Shares in mainland China jumped on the day, with the Shanghai compositegaining 2.39 percent to about 3,253.60 and the Shenzhen component adding about 2.33 percent to around 10,287.64. The Shenzhen composite also advanced 2.095 percent to approximately 1,760.02. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added more than 0.8 percent, as of its final hour of trading. Over in South Korea, the Kospi closed 0.26 percent higher at 2,248.63. Crude oil futures ticked higher on Tuesday after several days of back-and-forth trade, but prices remain pressured by expectations of higher U.S. inventories and concern about Russia’s willingness to stick with OPEC-led supply cuts. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 8 cents at $71.26 a barrel at 8:45 a.m. ET (1245 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 25 cents to $63.65. Gold fell on Tuesday near more than one-week lows touched in the previous session, as positive economic data from major economies stoked risk appetite, softening demand for safe-haven bullion. Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,282.51 per ounce, as of 0937 GMT. In the previous session, prices dropped to $1,281.96, their weakest since April 4. U.S. gold futures shed 0.4 percent to $1,286.40.