Friday April 22nd


Wall Street digests earnings, PMIs eyed

U.S. stock index futures indicated a slightly lower open Friday, amid weak global sentiment, as investors digested more earnings news and awaited fresh manufacturing data. Dow components Caterpillar, McDonald's and General Electric reported before the bell. Traders will also be digesting earnings from Google parent Alphabet from Thursday evening. Shares of the tech firm fell in after-hours trade after the company reported earnings and revenue that fell short of analyst expectations. Alphabet said it saw adjusted first-quarter earnings of $7.50 per share on $20.26 billion in revenue. Analysts expected Alphabet to report earnings of about $7.97 a share on $20.37 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters. American Airlines Group, AutoNation, Kimberly-Clark, SunTrust and Synchrony Financial are also among those reporting. On the data front, manufacturing PMIs (purchasing managers' index) will be released at 9:45 a.m. Traders will also eye the oil price which has weighed on sentiment in recent months. Oil markets saw a pickup in prices on Friday morning. Brent and U.S. crude posted modest gains in early European trade, hovering around $45 and $43.50 respectively. European stocks posted losses in early Friday trade, as sharp losses in autos and mining stocks capped gains in the region. Volkswagen shares were lower by 4.5 percent. Reuters, citing sources, reported it was hiking its provisions to pay for the emissions scandal to 16-17 billion euros from a previous 6.7 billion euros. Meanwhile, Asia markets finished mixed on the final trading day of the week. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 advanced 208.87 points, or 1.2 percent, to 17,572.49 on the back of a relatively weaker yen. The index has posted gains in four of the last five sessions, rising 4.3 percent for the week. Chinese mainland markets finished up, with the Shanghai composite up 6.78 points, or 0.23 percent, at 2,959.67, while the Shenzhen composite added 19.02 points, or 1.03 percent, at 1,867.55. Earlier in the week, the indexes came under pressure, with the Shanghai benchmark selling off as much as 4 percent at one point, which analysts said was due to a liquidity shortage in the country this month. Oil prices rose on Friday towards $45 a barrel, heading for a third straight week of gains as market sentiment turned more upbeat despite persistent oversupply. Traders said sentiment in the entire commodity complex had turned more confident despite the glut, with new cash being put into the market by investors, lifting prices. International benchmark Brent crude futures were trading at $44.82 per barrel at 8:37 a.m. ET (1237 GMT), up 29 cents, or 0.7 percent, from their last settlement. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 32 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $43.50 a barrel. Gold slipped on Friday, as the dollar advanced versus the yen, but the metal was still looking to post a weekly gain, while silver was set for its biggest weekly increase in 11 months. The dollar rose as much as one percent against the yen on speculation the Bank of Japan was considering applying negative rates to its lending program for financial institutions, effectively starting to pay banks to borrow its cash. Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,245.76 an ounce, after hitting a five-week high of $1,270.10 an ounce on Thursday. Spot silver rose 1.5 percent to $17.25 an ounce. It had risen to a 11-month high of $17.69 in the previous session and was up 6 percent for the week.