U.S. Futures Largely Flat; Banking Earnings in Focus

© Reuters

By Peter Nurse   

Investing.com – U.S. stocks are seen opening largely unchanged Wednesday, as the corporate earnings season kicks into full gear, with the focus on the key banking sector.

At 07:05 AM ET (1105 GMT), traded 2 points, or 0.1%, lower, the contract rose 10 points, or 0.1%, while climbed 15 points, or 0.1%. 

These cash indices closed lower Tuesday, ending a four-day win streak, with the ending 0.6% lower, the down 0.6% and the off 0.1%. However, they haven’t registered consecutive down days this month.

The banking sector, often seen as an important guage of the strength of the overall economy, will be in focus Wednesday, with third-quarter earnings from Bank of America (NYSE:), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:) all due. These follow above-estimate earnings from JPMorgan (NYSE:) and Citigroup (NYSE:) in the previous session.

Outside of the major banks, there are also earnings due from the likes United Airlines (NASDAQ:), on the heels of Delta’s (NYSE:) disappointing quarterly update, UnitedHealth (NYSE:) and Alcoa (NYSE:).

Still, investors face a number of headwinds, with Covid-19 cases continuing to mount, vaccine trials facing difficulties and a new stimulus bill remaining something of a mirage. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday the Senate would vote next week on a targeted $500 billion coronavirus economic aid bill. This is extremely unlikely to pass through the House given it’s the type of deal Democrats have rejected in the past as not being enough.

Turning to economic data, September’s producer price index is the key release Wednesday., which excludes food and energy, is expected to rise 0.2% on the month, climbing at a slightly slower pace than the previous month. 

This would duplicate the pattern on consumer prices, which after several months of above-trend gains, look like they are normalizing. Both and , released Tuesday, increased by 0.2% month-to-month in September.

Oil prices weakened Wednesday on concerns that fuel demand will continue to falter as rising coronavirus cases across Europe and in the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer, cause economic growth to wane.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cut its forecast for oil demand in 2021 by 80,000 barrels per day to 96.84 million barrels per day in its monthly report on Tuesday, citing damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The weekly report on crude by the American Petroleum Institute is due later in the session, having been delayed by a day because of the Columbus day holiday on Monday.

futures traded 0.3% lower at $40.33 a barrel, while the international benchmark contract fell 0.1% to $42.39.

Elsewhere, rose 0.5% to $1,904.35/oz, while traded 0.1% lower at 1.1741.


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