Wednesday April 24th


US stock futures point to small gains after Tuesday’s record close

U.S. stock index futures pointed to marginal gains at Wednesday’s open after a record close in the previous session. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated a rise of 15.6 points at the open, while S&P 500 futures pointed to a small rise. The Nasdaq 100 was set to rise by 8.5 points. Boeing shares rose 0.8% in the premarket despite the aerospace giant pulling its 2019 guidance and halted share buybacks, citing uncertainty around its 737 Max aircraft. Caterpillar shares also rose 0.4% on better-than-expected earnings. Facebook, Microsoft, PayPal, Tesla Motors and Visa are all set to release their latest quarterly figures after market close. Market focus is largely attuned to earnings season, after better-than-feared figures from major companies in the previous session helped the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indexes reach record closing highs. “If there’s an earnings recession out there, it’s hard to see in the latest batch of earnings reports,” Ed Yardeni, president and chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research. Tuesday’s move toward an all-time closing high comes less than six months after a sharp decline in late December, which led the S&P 500 to its worst annual performance since 2008. But stocks quickly turned around as the Federal Reserve reversed course on monetary policy while the tone around U.S.-China trade talks improved. Stocks in Asia were mixed on Wednesday after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed at record-high territory overnight on Wall Street. The Nikkei 225 in Japan declined 0.27% on the day to 22,200.00, while the Topix index shed 0.67% to close at 1,612.05. In South Korea, the Kospi fell 0.88% to finish its trading day at 2,201.03. Mainland Chinese shares recovered from their earlier slip to finish higher, with the Shanghai composite rising to 3,201.61 and the Shenzhen component adding around 1.10% to 10,236.27. The Shenzhen composite also advanced 1.10% to 1,747.88. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 0.57% lower in its final hour of trading. Oil prices slipped below six-month highs on Wednesday after signs that cushioned a rally based on fears of tight supply resulting from OPEC output cuts and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran. U.S. crude stocks rose by 6.9 million barrels last week, more than expected, data from the industry group American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday. Brent crude futures were at $74.37 per barrel at 1047 GMT, down 14 cents from their last close. The benchmark is still set for its fifth consecutive weekly gain. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude future were at $65.97 per barrel, down 33 cents - not enough to steer them away from what is set to be their eighth week of gains. Gold prices fell on Wednesday to hover around a four-month low touched in the previous session, as the dollar gained after strong U.S. housing data dampened concerns about an economic slowdown in the country, amid upbeat risk appetite. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,270.60 per ounce by 0752 GMT, having hit its lowest since the end of last year at $1,265.90 in the last session. U.S. gold futures were 0.1-percent lower at $1,272.40 an ounce.