Monday April 22nd


US stock futures signal a lower open ahead of busy earnings week

U.S. stock index futures were lower Monday morning ahead of what could be a quiet day of trading following the Easter break but a busy week for corporate earnings. Around 7 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated a drop of more than 50 points at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were also seen slightly lower. The move lower in futures comes after the South China Morning Post reported China’s policy-making committee will pursue structural changes to its economy, rather than add stimulus. But corporate results remain the biggest focus for the U.S. this week. On Monday, Halliburton reported better-than-expected quarterly results, sending its stock up more than 3% in the premarket. Other companies reporting earnings on Monday include Kimberly-Clark and, after the bell, Whirlpool and Celanese.The week ahead will be the busiest of the earnings season with Coca Cola, Procter & Gamble, UnitedTech, Verizon, Twitter, Lockheed Martin and eBay just some of the companies reporting Tuesday. On Wednesday, Facebook, Microsoft and Tesla Motors are just a few of the corporate earnings to expect and on Thursday, CNBC-parent Comcast, Amazon, Ford, Starbucks and Domino’s Pizza are among those reporting. Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Colgate-Palmolive will be reporting earnings on Friday. On the data front, existing home sales for March are expected at 10 a.m. ET. Oil markets are in focus after prices spiked following reports that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will announce that from May 2, the State Department will no longer grant sanctions waivers to any country that is currently importing Iranian crude or condensate. In other news, Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has said that critics of globalization are wrong when they say trade agreements have been unfair to the U.S. and Europe. In his latest book, Stiglitz notes that trade agreements have advanced corporate interests at the expense of workers in both developed and developing countries. Stocks in Asia were mixed on Monday, while markets in Australia and Hong Kong were closed for the Easter Monday holiday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed fractionally higher at 22,217.90. The Topix index gained 0.1 percent to finish at 1,618.62. Over in South Korea, the Kospi closed largely flat at 2,216.65. Mainland Chinese shares were lower on the day, with the Shanghai compositeslipping 1.7 percent to 3,215.04 and the Shenzhen component falling about 1.86 percent to 10,224.31. The Shenzhen composite also shed 1.513 percent to 1,751.91. Oil prices spiked on Monday — past highs not seen since last fall — after reports that Washington is set to announce that all buyers of Iranian oil will have to end imports, or be subject to U.S. sanctions. The White House confirmed the reports on Monday morning. Brent crude futures surged more than 3% to $74.31 per barrel on Monday, sailing past last week’s 2019 high at $72.27 and hitting the highest level since Nov. 1, 2018. Brent, the international benchmark for oil prices, was last up $1.82, or 2.5%, $73.79. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose $1.52, or 2.4%, to $65.52 per barrel, after hitting $65.87, its highest level since Oct. 31, 2018. WTI had been trading sideways after hitting a 2019 high at $64.79 nearly two weeks ago. Gold prices rebounded on Monday from a near four-month trough hit in the previous session as investors resumed trading after the Easter holiday, with the bullion gaining further traction on higher crude rates. Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,279.48 per ounce, as of 0325 GMT, having touched $1,270.63 in the previous session — its lowest since Dec. 27, 2018. The metal dropped 1.2 percent in the previous week, marking a fourth consecutive weekly decline. U.S. gold futures were 0.5 percent higher at $1,281.70 an ounce.