April 24, 2019
By Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel
(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to open flat on Wednesday after a record-setting rally in the previous session, as investors assessed quarterly reports from industrial bellwethers Boeing and Caterpillar.
Boeing Co shares gained 1.5% in premarket trading even as the planemaker suspended its 2019 outlook and reported quarterly revenue below Wall Street estimates due to grounding of its 737 MAX jets. Its stock has lost 11.5% since the deadly Ethiopian crash in early March.
Caterpillar Inc fell 2.6%. The company topped analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit but posted a 4% decline in construction revenue in Asia-Pacific, one of its key markets dominated by China.
“Thus far you’ve had pretty strong reactions to earnings and investor sentiment is nervously positive,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
“The nervousness has to do with valuations and the concern being, ‘Am I going to get good enough results and guidance to justify the markets going higher?’”
The main indexes are holding within a hair’s breadth of all-time highs after a rally this year, sparked by a dovish Federal Reserve, hopes of a U.S.-China trade resolution and an upbeat earnings season.
The benchmark S&P 500 index is just 0.25% away from its intra-day record high of 2,940.91 hit on Sept. 21.
About a third of the S&P 500 companies are expected to report this week, determining if investors should be concerned about the start of an earnings recession or whether back-to-back quarters of negative growth can be avoided.
Profits of S&P 500 companies are expected to decline 1.1% for the quarter, according to Refinitv data. However, 77.5% of the 129 companies that have reported so far have surpassed earnings estimates.
At 8:39 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 15 points, or 0.06%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 1 points, or 0.03% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 1.25 points, or 0.02%.
Microsoft Corp and Facebook Inc, set to report after the closing bell on Wednesday, were up more than 0.5%.
EBay Inc shares jumped 3.6% after the company raised its full-year sales and profit forecasts.
AT&T Inc shares declined 2.5% after the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier reported quarterly revenue below Wall Street estimates.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp shares jumped 11.4% after Occidental Petroleum Corp sought to scuttle Chevron Corp’s takeover of the company with a $57 billion bid. Occidental’s shares fell 5.2%.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)