Stock futures flat as investors parse latest round of earnings

April 30, 2019

By Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were muted on Tuesday, a day after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq set intraday records, with investors going through the latest batch of earnings and weak data from China.

The S&P 500 on Monday topped its intraday record of 2,940.91 hit on Sept. 21, rising to a session high of 2,949.52. The benchmark index is now up 17.4% for the year.

Hopes of a resolution to the U.S.-China trade war, upbeat earnings and a dovish Federal Reserve have powered the rally in stocks this year, from a steep sell-off in late 2018.

Investors will also pay close attention to the next two rounds of U.S.-China trade negotiations. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he hopes to make “substantial progress” with Chinese negotiators.

However, U.S. futures and global equities came under pressure after official and private business surveys suggested slower Chinese factory growth this month, quashing hopes of a steady reading or even a faster expansion.

At 7:17 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 17 points, or 0.06%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 0.25 points, or 0.01% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 7.75 points, or 0.1%.

With earnings in full swing, analysts expect profits at S&P 500 companies to drop 0.2% in the first quarter, a sharp improvement from a 2% fall estimated at the beginning of the month, according to Refinitiv data.

Among the high-growth FAANG stocks, Google-parent Alphabet Inc slumped 7.8% in pre-market trading after the company posted its slowest revenue growth in three years.

Apple Inc shares dipped 0.6%, ahead of results later in the day. The iPhone maker will be wrapping up earnings for the FAANG stocks.

General Electric Co jumped 6.6% after the industrial conglomerate reported first-quarter profit which more than tripled.

Among Dow components trading before the bell, Pfizer Inc rose 1.4% and Merck & Co Inc climbed 1.6% after both the drugmakers reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Also on the radar was the Fed which will kick-off a two-day meeting on Tuesday, at the end of which a decision on interest rates will be announced.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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