Sunday, 5 Apr 2020

Futures tick lower on mixed earnings reports

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged lower on Tuesday as investors assessed a mixed batch of earnings reports, including from Google parent Alphabet and big drugmakers Merck and Pfizer.

The benchmark S&P 500 closed at a record high on Monday, while the Nasdaq ended the session less than 5 points below its closing high in July on hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal and a widely expected interest rate cut.

Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) rose 1.9% in premarket trading after it beat quarterly profit estimates, while Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) gained 2.9% as it raised its 2019 earnings forecast.

Shares of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), however, dropped 1.5% as the web search leader’s quarterly profit missed estimates due to higher costs.

Other marquee names reporting this week include tech heavyweights Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Facebook Inc (FB.O) as well as oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N).

Third-quarter earnings of S&P 500 companies have largely been better than expected, with over 78% of the 204 companies that have reported so far surpassing profit expectations, according to Refinitiv data.

Investors will keep a close watch on the two-day Federal Reserve meeting, where the central bank is expected to cut interest rates by a quarter percentage point for the third time this year. The Fed will announce its policy decision on Wednesday.

At 7:14 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 56 points, or 0.21%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 3.75 points, or 0.12% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 5.25 points, or 0.06%.

Beyond Meat Inc (BYND.O) dropped 15.5% as the vegan burger maker said it would need to offer more store discounts amid rising competition, overshadowing its first ever quarterly net profit and full-year sales forecast raise.

Shares of GrubHub Inc (GRUB.N) plunged 35% after the online food delivery company warned of slowing growth as customers opted to choose from a growing pool of rival providers to get better deals.

On the economic front, data at 10:00 a.m. ET is expected to show reading on U.S. consumer confidence index rose to 128 in October from 125.1 in September.

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