U.S. stock index futures slipped Tuesday as traders assessed the latest quarterly figures from several major companies. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 69 points, or 0.2%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures dipped 0.3% each. Shares of First Republic Bank slid more than 20% after the regional bank posted its latest quarterly results. The bank said late Monday that deposits dropped 40% to $104.5 billion in the first quarter but have since stabilized. First Republic will also be trimming expenses, including slashing headcount by 20% to 25% in the second quarter. The regional bank has been closely followed after investors grew concerned it could face the same fate as Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, whose closures set off an industry crisis last month. First Republic shares have fallen more than 86% so far this year. UPS dropped almost 5% on the back of quarterly results that missed Wall Street’s expectations. PepsiCo, General Motors and McDonald’s, meanwhile, were up on better-than-expected numbers. “Earnings season thus far are as mixed as one could imagine, although the one common denominator centers around cost cuts, which comes from worries about the economy and investor focus on profit margins,” said George Ball, chairman of Sanders Morris Harris. Microsoft and Alphabet are slated to report Tuesday, the first of multiple Big Tech names on the earnings schedule this week. But Ball said the stocks could struggle, adding that large-cap technology may not be a market leader in the remainder of the year after its early-2023 rally. Alphabet shares fell slightly ahead of the Google-parent’s earnings after the bell. The company has been on an earnings cold streak, missing Wall Street estimates the last four quarters, according to Bespoke Investment Group. Investors on Tuesday will get a gauge on the state of the housing prices through the new home sales numbers in March, as well as the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index data for February. Consumer confidence data for April will also be released. Hong Kong markets led losses in Asia on Tuesday, with the Hang Seng sliding 1.97% as Asian stocks largely fell ahead of earnings from Big Tech firms. The Hang Seng Tech index saw a larger loss, tumbling 4% as technology stocks led losses on the HSI. Mainland Chinese markets also all finished lower, with the Shenzhen Component 1.48% down to close at 11,149.01 and the Shanghai Composite ending 0.32% lower at 3,264.87. South Korea’s Kospi slid 1.37% to close at 2,489.02 and the Kosdaq ended 1.93% down at 838.71, after the country’s central bank announced that its GDP grew 0.8% year-on-year in the first quarter. In contrast, Japanese markets were all higher, with the Nikkei 225 up 0.09% to end the day at 28,620.07 and the Topix finishing 0.24% higher at 2,042.15. Markets in Australia and New Zealand are closed for a holiday. Oil prices slipped Tuesday as investors weighed strong holiday travel in China that could boost fuel demand against the prospect of rising interest rates elsewhere, slowing economic growth. Brent crude fell 36 cents to $82.37 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude pulled back by to $78.40 a barrel. Oil futures had risen more than 1% on Monday on optimism that holiday travel in China would increase fuel demand in the world’s second-biggest economy. Gold prices were little changed on Tuesday as investors shied away from making big bets ahead of U.S. economic data that could determine the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike strategy. Spot gold was steady at $1,989.71 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures was unchanged at $2,000.40.
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