Friday February 14th


US stock futures rise, Nvidia jumps on strong earnings

U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher Friday as Nvidia led a number of companies in reporting better-than-expected earnings while investors wrapped up another solid week of gains. Around 7 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 38 points, indicating a gain of 69 points at the open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to slight gains. Nvidia shares rose more than 6% in the premarket after its quarterly results beat analyst expectations. Expedia got an 11.8% boost from its earnings while Roku and Newell Brands gained 7.8% and 3%, respectively. More than 77% of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings thus far, with roughly 72% of them beating analyst expectations, FactSet data shows. “We’re looking now at a very modest positive quarter for the fourth quarter,” said Jon Adams, investment strategist at BMO Global Asset Management. “If we do see earnings growth pick up here, which we think it will throughout 2020, that will bode well for U.S. equities.” Wall Street is headed for strong weekly gains even as investors grapple with a rising number of reported coronavirus cases. The S&P 500 and Dow are each up more than 1% for the week through Thursday’s close. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, has risen 2%. “The recovery looks rational, although it may appear early,” Timothy Moe, chief Asia Pacific regional equity strategist, said in a note. “To the extent that investors are looking at equity market performance after previous virus outbreak episodes as a template for current potential performance, the current macro environment does not appear as supportive for equities.” China’s National Health Commission on Friday reported an additional 121 deaths nationwide, with 5,090 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The flu-like virus was found to have killed a total of 1,380 people in mainland China as of Thursday evening after the health commission said it had removed 108 deaths from the total figure due to a double-count in Hubei province — the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak. It is the second day in a row that the province’s data changes have caused significant changes to a nationwide figure, fueling doubts many have about their accuracy. Stocks in Asia were mostly higher on Friday as concerns around the ongoing coronavirus outbreak continued to weigh on investor sentiment. Mainland Chinese stocks gained on the day, with the Shanghai composite rising 0.38% to about 2,917.01 and the Shenzhen component up 0.48% to 10,916.31. The Shenzhen composite also added 0.441% to around 1,779.43. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 0.39% higher, as of its final hour of trading. In Japan, however, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.59% lower at 23,687.59. The Topix index also declined 0.6% to end its trading day at 1,702.87. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.48% on the day to 2,243.59. Oil prices rose on Friday and held on track for their first weekly gain since early January as investors bet the economic impact of the coronavirus would be short-lived and hoped for further Chinese central bank stimulus to tackle any slowdown. Brent crude was up 81 cents or 1.4% at $57.15 per barrel. It has risen 4.4% since last Friday, its first weekly increase in six weeks. U.S. West Texas Intermediate gained 74 cents or 1.4% to trade at $52.16 a barrel, up 3.2% for the week. Gold prices held steady on Friday after easing from a more than one-week high as investors assessed the risks to the global economy from the coronavirus epidemic. Spot gold was unchanged at $1,575.69 an ounce at 1036 GMT, having earlier touched its highest since Feb. 4 at $1,577.89. For the week, bullion has so far gained about 0.3%. U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,579.30.