Stock futures point to flat Wall Street open as earnings roll in

April 23, 2019

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures pointed to a subdued opening on Wall Street on Tuesday, as investors parsed through a fresh batch of reports from Coca-Cola, Twitter and a handful of industrial companies.

Stock markets across the globe were listless as European markets reopened after a four-day Easter break only to be supported by gaining energy shares, spurred by oil prices near six-month highs. [O/R]

About a third of the S&P 500 companies including Boeing Co and Facebook Inc are scheduled to report this week, making it the busiest period this reporting season.

With Wall Street’s main indexes struggling to make headway, even as they hover below record levels, investors are waiting to see if results from major companies ease concerns about earnings recession.

Profits at S&P 500 companies are expected to decline 1.7% in the first quarter, in what could be the first earnings contraction since 2016. However, the forecasts have improved slightly since the start of April.

“It’s still expected to be a challenging quarter for the corporates, but the bar has been sufficiently lowered which may allow them to get through the season relatively unscathed,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, said.

“The lack of direction at the start of the week isn’t surprising given the quiet bank holiday weekend.”

Trading volume has been at its lowest so far in 2019.

At 7:17 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 16 points, or 0.06%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.07% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 7.75 points, or 0.1%.

Among the major names that have reported, Coca-Cola Co was up 3.5% after quarterly sales beat analysts’ estimates, while Twitter Inc gained 6.8% after the social media company reported a surprise rise in the number of monthly active users.

Dow component United Technologies Corp gained 2.8% after reporting a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, boosted by robust demand for aircraft parts.

Lyft Inc’s shares rose 2.7% as multiple underwriters started coverage of the ride-hailing firm on an upbeat note.

Economic data due at 10:00 a.m. ET is expected to show sales of new U.S. single-family homes dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 650,000 units in March, from 667,000 units in February.

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

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