Stock futures dropped Wednesday as earnings season gained steam and Wall Street looked ahead to key financial reports. Futures connected to the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 66 points, or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures lost 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively. Shares of United Airlines fell more than 5% in premarket trading on soft guidance, while Procter & Gamble rose nearly 2% after beating analyst expectations for the quarter. Netflix and Tesla are among the big names on deck after the market closes on Wednesday. Stocks are coming off a muted trading session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 13 points, or 0.04% to 33,997.65, while the S&P 500 inched 0.01% lower to 4,373.20. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, falling 0.25% to 13,533.75. Tuesday’s moves came as bond yields popped on stronger-than-expected September retail sales, and the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note hit its highest level since Oct. 6. Chip stocks such as Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices sold off as the U.S. announced plans to tighten restrictions on AI chip exports to China. Wall Street continued to assess the impact of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Traders also parsed through third-quarter earnings reports, including results from financial institutions such as Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Bank of New York Mellon. Just over 10% of companies in the S&P 500 have reported results, according to FactSet. Of those that have already reported, about 78% have surpassed analyst expectations. “It’s not a surprise that profits are likely to surpass analysts’ estimates” given that companies face an already-low bar, said Anthony Saglimbene, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial. “It’s more about the outlooks, and the direction of interest rates that are really going to inform the near-to-intermediate term direction of stocks.” U.S. Treasurys were little changed on Wednesday as investors digested the latest economic data and considered the outlook for Federal Reserve interest rates. The 10-year Treasury yield was down nearly 1 basis point to 4.839%, trading near 16-year highs seen in early October on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the 2-year Treasury yield was trading more than 1 basis point lower at 5.199% after hitting levels last seen in 2006 on Tuesday. Asia markets were mixed in choppy afternoon trading on Wednesday after economic data from China showed stronger-than-expected growth. China posted 4.9% growth in the July to September quarter from a year earlier, according to a release from China’s National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday. Economists expected the country’s economy to report growth of 4.4%, according to a Reuters poll. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.15% in its final hour of trade, reversing earlier gains, while China’s benchmark CSI 300 index fell 0.79% to finish at 3,610.58 — its lowest level in almost a year. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 ended 0.3% higher at 7,077.60, ahead of its unemployment figures on Thursday. The unemployment rate is one of the key metrics that the Reserve Bank of Australia considers when setting its monetary policy. Japan’s Nikkei 225 were near flat, ending at 32,042.25 and the Topix added 0.14% to extend Tuesday’s gains, finishing at 2,295.34. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.1% up at 2,462.6, while the Kosdaq slipped 1.4% to end the day at 808.89. The Taiex in Taiwan dropped about 1.21%, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp down 2% after the U.S. announced new restrictions on exports of artificial intelligence chips to China. Oil prices surged 2% on Wednesday as tension escalated in the Middle East after hundreds were killed in a blast at a Gaza hospital, sparking concerns about potential oil supply disruptions from the region. Brent crude futures was up $2.17, or 2.4%, to $92.07 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) futures were up $1.66, or 1.9%, at $88.32 a barrel. Both benchmarks gained more than $2 to touch their highest levels in two weeks earlier in the session. Gold prices touched a near one-month high on Wednesday, after a deadly blast in Gaza fueled fears about the Middle East conflict escalating and kept the safe-haven asset a favored investment. Spot gold rose 1.1% to $1,943.20 per ounce after scaling its highest since Sept. 20 earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures also jumped 1.1% to $1,957.
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