Tuesday January 29th


Stocks set to open higher, 3M jumps after earnings

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Tuesday as investors pored through the latest batch of corporate earnings. As of 7:56 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 56 points higher, indicating a gain of 35.78 points at the open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to slight gains. Shares of 3M rose 3 percent in the premarket after the company reported better-than-expected earnings. Pfizer, Allergan, Verizon and Biogen also posted stronger-than-forecast profits. Investors will be waiting for more earnings reports after the bell, with companies like Apple, Amgen and eBay set to report. Market focus is also largely attuned to global trade developments, after prospects for a long-awaited U.S.-China trade deal were dealt another setback. It comes after Washington leveled sweeping charges against Beijing’s telecom giant Huawei. The U.S. Department of Justice filed criminal charges Monday against Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of China tech giant Huawei and the daughter of its founder and president Ren Zhengfei. The news comes shortly before Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is set to meet U.S. officials on Wednesday and Thursday. Market participants fear the jolt to Huawei could undermine the chances of the world’s two largest economies reaching a comprehensive trade deal. On Monday, Caterpillar stoked fears over Chinese growth with its shares falling 9.1 percent. The industrial giant posted weaker-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter and said its sales in the Asia/Pacific region declined because of lower demand in China. In terms of economic data, there will be consumer confidence numbers out at 10 a.m. ET as well as fourth-quarter housing vacancies. The Dallas Fed services numbers will be out at 10.30 a.m. ET. The Federal Reserve is due to start its two-day meeting Tuesday with a decision on interest rates due Wednesday. Stocks in Asia were mostly lower on Tuesday as fresh concerns over a slowing Chinese economy and renewed trade tensions weighed on investor sentiment. Mainland Chinese markets slipped as investors kept an eye on Beijing’s ongoing trade war with Washington. The Shanghai composite declined 0.1 percent to close at 2,594.25 and the Shenzhen component slipped 0.504 percent to finish its trading day at 7,551.30. The Shenzhen composite fell 1.114 percent to close at 1,300.34. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.26 percent in its final hour of trading. Japan’s Nikkei 225, however, recovered from earlier losses to close fractionally higher at 20,664.64 while the Topix index gained 0.1 percent to finish at 1,557.09. South Korea’s Kospi also made a turnaround to close higher by 0.28 percent at 2,183.36. Oil prices rose on Tuesday after Washington imposed sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA, a step that may curb the OPEC member’s crude exports to the United States. Despite the move, which comes as the U.S government looks to pile pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to step down, traders said ample global oil supply and an economic slowdown, especially in China, were keeping crude prices in check. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $52.29 per barrel at 0747 GMT, up 20 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last settlement. International Brent crude oil futures were at $60.11 per barrel, up 18 cents, or 0.3 percent. Gold climbed to a more than eight-month high on Tuesday as the dollar eased before a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, with investors cautious about an escalation in U.S.-China trade tensions. Spot gold gained 0.28 percent to $1,307.14 per ounce as of 7:21 a.m. ET, having hit its highest since May 15 at $1,309.33. U.S. gold futures were up 0.23 percent at $1,306.10 per ounce.