Stock futures higher as upbeat corporate earnings lift sentiment

January 25, 2019

By Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday, as upbeat earnings reports lifted market optimism, which has recently been hit by worries about global economic growth, U.S. government shutdown and uncertainty around U.S.-China trade talks.

The benchmark S&P 500 is still near one-month high, following a four-week long rally supported by corporate earnings that have largely exceed Wall Street expectations.

News that the U.S. Senate was looking for a way to end a partial U.S. government shutdown entering its 35th day also added to the upbeat sentiment.

Starbucks Corp shares rose 3.2 percent in premarket trading as the popularity of its holiday-themed drinks in the United States helped quarterly sales top analysts’ expectations.

Western Digital Corp, which missed estimates for quarterly results due to weak demand for its data storage devices, rose 9.1 percent after the company said its revenue would improve in the second half of the year.

Shares of rival Seagate Technology also climbed 4.5 percent.

Semiconductor stocks, which have taken a beating after Apple Inc’s sales warnings, led Wall Street’s rally on Thursday on better-than-feared results from chipmakers, including Xilinx Inc and Lam Research Corp.

However, Intel Corp’s dismal current-quarter forecast, for which it blamed slowdown in China and sluggish demand for its data center and modem chips, sent its shares down 6.3 percent.

Shares of rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc dropped 0.2 percent.

At 7:12 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 175 points, or 0.72 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 19.5 points, or 0.74 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 67.25 points, or 1.01 percent.

Three-fourth of the 97 S&P 500 companies that have reported fourth-quarter results have surpassed profit estimates, according to Refinitiv data.

But the earnings growth estimates for last quarter have dropped to 14.2 percent from 20.1 percent at the start of October, while 2019 profit growth estimates have come down to 5.8 percent from 10.2 percent in the same period.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar; Editing by Arun Koyyur)