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US stock futures have changed slightly ahead of several earnings reports

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York on January 12, 2022.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

US stock futures were slightly changed Monday night as traders prepared for the latest group of corporate earnings reports.

Futures linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked higher by 4 points or less than 0.1%. S&P 500 futures fell 0.1% and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.2%. US markets were closed on Monday due to the Martin Luther King holiday.

The abbreviated trading week will feature quarterly reports from 35 companies in the S&P 500, including Bank of America, UnitedHealth and Netflix. Goldman Sachs is also set to release its latest quarterly figures Tuesday before the clock.

The big banks Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup started the earnings season on Friday, where the three companies had a better profit than expected. However, the market response to these results was mixed. Wells Fargo shares made a profit based on these results, but JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup slipped.

Overall, 26 S&P 500 companies have reported fourth-quarter earnings in the calendar so far, according to Refinitiv. Of those companies, nearly 77% had bottom-line results that beat analysts' expectations.

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"The fourth-quarter economic background was positive and bodes well for growth and revenue growth," said Mark Haefele, CIO of UBS Global Wealth Management, in a note last week. "Guidance from companies also appears to point to continued demand strength in 2022, although omicron is disrupting some companies right now."

The proliferation of the omicron Covid-19 variant has raised questions about the state of the global economic recovery, ever since the news of its discovery broke out. Some countries and regions reintroduced lockdowns and other social distance measures to curb the outbreak.

Recent data, however, indicate that the spread may decrease. In New York, the seven-day average of daily new cases has fallen since breaking a record earlier this month, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. In Maryland, daily infections have dropped by 27% week over week. Cases are also falling in South Africa and the UK.

Rocky start to the year

Monday's moves come as stocks have struggled to start 2022.

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are all down for the year due to concerns about the recent rise in inflation and the prospect of a tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker told CNBC last week that the central bank could raise interest rates three or four times this year. He noted that inflation was "more persistent than we thought some time ago."

Tech, the largest S&P 500 sector in terms of market value, has been hit particularly hard this year with a decline of more than 4%. Big Tech names like Meta Platforms, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet and Apple are all down years to date.

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