Friday October 21st


US stock futures fall as Street eyes earnings, Fed speakers

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Friday as traders eyed several big earnings reports and anticipated comments from Federal Reserve speakers. On the earnings front, McDonald's, SunTrust and Synchrony Financial are among companies set to report before the bell. Industrial giants General Electric and Honeywell posted results before the open as well, with GE beating earnings expectations but falling short of sales estimates. GE also narrowed its 2016 earnings guidance. Honeywell, meanwhile, beat consensus on both lines. On Thursday after the close, Microsoft posted better-than-expected results. The tech giant's stock was on pace to open at a new all-time high. Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo is set to speak at the Columbia Law School Conference in New York at 10:15 a.m. ET. San Francisco Fed President John Williams is due to speak at 2:30 p.m. ET at the Federal Home Loan Bank's Member Conference in San Francisco. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx-600 index was 0.11 percent higher. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed 0.30 percent lower. The Shanghai Composite in China closed 0.22 percent higher. In South Korea, the Kospi finished lower by 7.60 points, or 0.37 percent, at 2,033.00. Oil prices rose on Friday as Russia reiterated its commitment to joining a producers' output freeze to stem a two-year slide in prices, but continued dollar strength capped gains. Global benchmark Brent crude futures were 28 cents higher at $51.66 a barrel by 8:37 a.m. ET (1237 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was trading up 12 cents at $50.93 a barrel. The November contract expired at the close of trading on Thursday. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday an oil output freeze agreement was necessary to prop up prices and that he would make proposals to his Saudi Arabian counterpart this weekend. Gold fell slightly on Friday as the dollar strengthened, but was on track for its first weekly gain in four weeks on steady physical buying from China and exchange-traded funds. Spot gold was up 0.07 percent at $1,266.61 an ounce. It was headed for a weekly gain of 1 percent. U.S. gold futures fell 0.02 percent to $1,265.90. "Gold is well supported at $1,250 and everyone is waiting for the elections and the prices are just moving according to the dollar," said Yuichi Ikemizu, head of commodity trading at Standard Bank in Tokyo.