Friday April 30th


Stock futures dip even after Amazon reports profit surge

U.S. stock index futures slipped early Friday as investors pored over a flurry of earnings results and a robust profit beat from e-commerce giant Amazon. Contracts tied to the S&P 500 fell 0.6%, while those linked to the Dow shed 150 points. Nasdaq-100 futures dropped about 0.7%. The after-hours moves came amid a deluge of earnings activity after the close of regular trading. Amazon, the last of Wall Street’s mega-cap tech companies to publish results, reported a record first-quarter profit. The Seattle-based firm said profits more than tripled to $8.1 billion and January-to-March sales soared 44% to $108 billion. The results blew past Wall Street expectations with the company earning  $15.79 per share vs. the consensus estimate of $9.54. Amazon’s results showed demand remained strong for its massive online retail business even as the economy started to open up some. The blowout results also showed big gains in high-growth cloud-computing and advertising businesses. Shares rose 2% in premarket trading, but that was not enough to lift sentiment for the whole market. Twitter, meanwhile, moved in the opposite direction on user growth results and second-quarter revenue guidance that fell short of analysts’ forecasts. The social media platform said monetizable daily active users totaled 199 million during the three months ended March 31 and reported per-share earnings of 16 cents. Twitter plunged 12% in premarket trading. Apple was coming under some slight pressure in the premarket after the European Union said the company’s App Store was breaching its competition rules. The shares were down 0.7% in premarket trading. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Colgate-Palmolive are reporting earnings on Friday before the bell. Chevron shares fell after quarterly EPS failed to exceed expectations. Colgate-Palmolive rose 1.5% in premarket trading after beating on the top and bottom lines of its quarterly results. Twitter and Amazon’s equity performance should influence the S&P 500 during the week’s final day of trading. The index closed at record levels on Thursday on the heels of blowout earnings results from Apple and Facebook. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the regular session up 0.7%, while the S&P 500 advanced just under 0.7% to finish the day at 4,211.47, a new closing high. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, which began the day up 1%, underperformed with a gain of just over 0.2%. So far this week, the S&P 500 is up 0.75%, the Dow is up less than 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite is up 0.47%. Wall Street will also be keep a close eye on personal income and spending data, set for release at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday morning. That data could provide investors, and the Federal Reserve, with a valuable look at how quickly prices are rising across the U.S. economy as it recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that the central bank would need to see inflation sustained about 2% “for some time” before it moved to rein in its supportive asset purchases and near-zero interest rates. “All arrows are pointing to another increase in inflationary pressures. Keep in mind, the Fed knows this; they are prepared for it,” wrote Patrick Leary, chief market strategist at Incapital. “While I won’t say whether or not the inflation we are seeing right now will be indeed be transitory or more sustained, I am willing to bet that it will go higher and persist longer than the market will tolerate.” Asia-Pacific markets struggled for gains Friday as investors turned cautious, despite a positive finish stateside in the previous session. The Japanese market returned to trade after being closed Thursday for a holiday. The benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.83% to 28,812.63 while the Topix index declined 0.57% to 1,898.24. In South Korea, the Kospi index stumbled 0.83% to 3,147.86. Chinese mainland shares also fell: The Shanghai composite declined 0.81% to 3,446.86 while the Shenzhen component declined 0.18% to14,438.57. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was down 1.98% in late-afternoon trade. Oil prices slipped on Friday, taking a breather after touching their highest in six weeks as concerns of wider lockdowns in India and Brazil to curb the Covid-19 pandemic offset a bullish outlook on summer fuel demand and economic recovery. Brent crude fell 29 cents, or 0.4%, to $68.27 a barrel by 0420 GMT, the last day’s trading for the front-month June contract. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for June was at $64.66 a barrel, down 35 cents, or 0.5%. Gold prices fell on Friday, on track to post their worst week in a month, as strong U.S. economic data and elevated Treasury yields weighed, while palladium came off a record high scaled a day earlier. Spot gold slipped 0.3% to $1,765.15 per ounce by 0346 GMT, down nearly 0.6% so far in the week. U.S. gold futures were down 0.1% to $1,765.60 per ounce.