Thursday April 21st


Dow earnings, oil to grab center stage on Wall Street

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open Thursday, amid more earnings and steadying oil prices, following Wednesday's gains. European stock indexes traded lower after the European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged and amid ECB President Mario Draghi's press conference. Draghi said risks to euro area growth remain tilted to the downside, and that inflation rates could turn negative again in the coming months before picking up in the second half of the year, Dow Jones reported. The newswire also said Draghi expects rates a present or lower levels for an extended period. He added it is essential to preserve appropriate accommodation as long as needed. The euro rose to trade near $1.137. The dollar index traded nearly half a percent lower, with the yen at 109.71 yen against the greenback as of 8:49 a.m. ET. Treasury yields were mostly higher. A bevy of U.S. companies reported earnings early on, including General Motors and Verizon Communications. After Wall Street closes there will be results from Alphabet, Microsoft and Starbucks. Weekly jobless claims came in at 247,000. The Philly Fed Index came in at minus 1.6 in April. Other data due for release include the FHFA Housing Price Index and the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for March. The U.S. Treasury, meanwhile, will auction five-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). Crude oil futures traded flat on Thursday, on media reports that Russia and Iran had said they were ready to further increase oil production. "With oil now trading at its highest level since early December and showing little sign of easing up, despite no deal being reached in Doha and the strike in Kuwait being resolved, I wonder whether what we're seeing here is partially a demand side story, with Chinese data having improved as of late, and partially an assumption that further supply disruptions are on the horizon," Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, said in a report on Thursday. Asian stock indexes finished mostly higher overnight, with the Nikkei 225 up 2.7 percent. The Shanghai composite underperformed, falling about two-thirds of a percent. Silver hit an 11-month high on Thursday, boosted by perceptions the metal had become undervalued versus gold coupled with technical momentum, while gold rallied more than 1 percent ahead of a European Central Bank meeting. Silver is up more than 7 percent this week, and on track for its biggest weekly rise since January 2015 after a break of key chart resistance last week sparked a wave of buying. It reached its most expensive versus gold in six months on Thursday, with an ounce of gold buying 72.3 ounces of silver, against a more than seven-year high of 83 ounces in late February. Spot silver was up 3.84 percent at $17.58 an ounce, having earlier touched its highest since May 2015. Gold was up 2 percent to $1,268.01 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for April delivery were up $15.60 an ounce at $1,270.