U.S. stock market index futures were little changed Wednesday as the corporate earnings season rolled on. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 41 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures added 0.2%. Shares of United Airlines rose more than 2% in premarket trading after the company beat Wall Street’s estimates in the latest quarter, propelled by strong travel demand. Meanwhile, shares of Moderna jumped more than 5% after the pharmaceutical company said its vaccine targeting respiratory syncytial virus can prevent the disease in older adults. The Dow on Tuesday declined about 391 points, or 1.14%. Shares of Goldman Sachs tumbled — and dragged on the 30-stock index — after the bank posted an earnings miss. The S&P 500 dipped 0.20%. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was the only one among the major averages to buck the trend, rising 0.14%. Those moves follow earnings results from big banks that suggested diverging paths ahead even for names within the same sector. Goldman Sachs’ shares fell more than 6% following a drop in investment banking and asset management revenues. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley gained 5.9%, boosted by better-than-expected wealth management revenue. “This is a really pivotal earnings season to find out whether or not companies can weather the storm and how long they can weather it for,” SoFi’s Liz Young said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.” “I still think we’re in a space where the market tends to rally on bad news. And it’s expecting that that means that the Fed will slow down, the Fed will pause, the Fed will pivot, the Fed stops sooner than they say they will. And I think we’re over indexing at this point to the Fed. It’s no longer just about the Fed,” Young added. Traders are anticipating a slew of economic reports Wednesday, including the latest data for the producer price index and retail sales. Economists polled by the Dow Jones are expecting the producer price index to have declined 0.1% in December, compared to a 0.3% rise the previous month. Meanwhile, retail sales in December are expected to dip 1%, according to consensus estimates. The prior reading showed a decline of 0.6%. Corporate earnings season will continue with earnings from J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Charles Schwab, PNC Financial Services Group and Discover on deck for Wednesday. Asia-Pacific shares traded mostly higher on Wednesday even as the Bank of Japan announced no change to its yield curve control policy. Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2.5% to close at 26,791.12, leading gains in the region. Topix edged up 1.64% to end at 1,934.93. The Japanese yen weakened 2.04% against the greenback right after the decision was announced and last traded at 130.84. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index inched up 0.09% and the Hang Seng Tech Index was trading flat. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite inched up fractionally, closing at 3,224.41 and the Shenzhen Component was up 0.086% to end at 11,810.66. The Bank of Japan surprised markets by keeping its yield curve tolerance band and ultra-dovish -0.1% interest rate unchanged. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched up 0.1% to close at 1,934.93. The Kospi lost 0.47 to stand at 2,368.32, bucking the overall trend. Oil prices rose on Wednesday to their highest since early December on optimism that the lifting of China’s strict Covid-19 curbs will lead to a fuel demand recovery in the world’s top oil importer. Brent crude futures were up $1.32, or 1.5%, to $87.24 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up $1.53, or 1.9%, to $81.71. Both were at their highest since early December. Gold reversed course to trade higher on Wednesday as the U.S. dollar pulled back from session highs and expectations of a slower pace of Federal Reserve rate hikes supported prices above the $1,900 threshold. Having dipped in the last two sessions, spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,916.45 per ounce, after hitting a session low of $1,896.32 earlier. U.S. gold futures ticked up 0.5% to $1,918.70.
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