Wednesday October 23rd


Stocks set to open little changed as traders evaluate earnings from Caterpillar, Boeing

U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors digested earnings reports from Caterpillar and Boeing. Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down just 2 points, but indicated a gain of about 15 points at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 fell slightly while Nasdaq 100 rose marginally. Caterpillar said it earned $2.66 per share in the third quarter, versus the Refinitiv consensus estimate of $2.88 per share. Revenue came in at $12.758 billion, while Wall Street expected revenue of $13.572 billion. The heavy machinery manufacturer lowered its full-year earnings per share forecast to a range of $10.59 and $11.09, lower than the expected $11.70. However, the stock traded 0.5% higher after falling more than 6% in the premarket. Meanwhile, Boeing shares climbed 1.5% after the airplane maker said it will stick to its timeline for the return of the 737 Max. That was enough to offset earnings that badly missed analyst expectations. The company reported a profit of $1.45 per share. Analysts polled by Refinitiv expected a profit of $2.09. Weak results from Texas Instruments weighed kept futures in check, however. Texas instruments — which is often seen as a proxy for the microchip industry — plunged 8% in the premarket after posting fourth-quarter guidance well below market estimates. Texas Instruments’ losses dragged down the broader chipmaker space. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) slid 1.7% before the bell. ON Semiconductor dropped 2.7% while Qualcomm lost 1.7%. Ford, Microsoft, and Tesla are among those scheduled to report their latest quarterly figures after market close. Despite the weak results from Caterpillar and Texas Instruments, the third-quarter earnings season has largely topped analyst expectations. Of the 118 S&P 500 companies that have reported, 81% have posted better-than-expected results, according to FactSet. Major Asia Pacific markets mostly fell by the close on Wednesday afternoon, as developments on Brexit overnight meant the deadline for the U.K. to leave the EU would likely be delayed again. Among mainland Chinese stocks, the Shanghai composite was down 0.43% to 2,941.62, while the Shenzhen composite lost 0.79%, closing at 1,618.40. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index tumbled 0.84% in afternoon trade. Japan’s markets reopened after a holiday on Tuesday, with the Nikkei 225 rising 0.34% to close at 22,625.38. South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.39% to 2,080.62. Oil fell on Wednesday after gaining over 1% in the previous session as U.S. industry data showed a bigger-than-expected build in crude stockpiles, but the possibility of deeper output cuts from OPEC and its allies contained the decline. Brent crude futures dropped 50 cents, or 0.84%, to $59.22 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for December delivery, the new front-month contract, fell 57 cents, or 1%, to $53.90 per barrel. The November contract expired on Tuesday at $54.16. Gold firmed on Wednesday as uncertainty over Britain’s upcoming exit from the European Union and concerns over a slowdown in the global technology sector weighed on stocks, prompting investors to seek refuge in bullion. Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,494.28 per ounce. U.S. gold futures rose 0.7% to $1,497.40 per ounce.