Friday July 27th

27-07-2018

US stocks set to rise after second-quarter GDP rises 4.1%

U.S. stock index futures indicated slight gains for Friday's open after the Commerce Department released the first look at second-quarter economic growth. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a gain of about 15 points, while Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 futures indicated gains of 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. The department said the U.S. economy grew by 4.1 percent in the second quarter, matching estimates. That's the fastest rate of the growth since the third quarter of 2014 and the third-best growth rate since the Great Recession. In recent days, White House officials have been indicating the reading will be strong. "You're going to get a very good economic growth number tomorrow. Big," White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said ahead of the release. The economic report comes in the middle of earnings season as some of the largest U.S. companies release their quarterly results. Amazon and Intel reported better-than-expected earnings Thursday after the close. Shares of Amazon rose more than 4 percent, but Intel's stock declined more than 6 percent. Twitter, meanwhile, posted quarterly earnings that were in line with expectations. However, the stock dropped more than 11 percent as the company also reported a decline in monthly active users, a key metric for the social media firm. Dow component Exxon Mobil reported a weaker-than-expected profit, sending its stock down nearly 4 percent. Thus far, over 50 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings. Of those companies, 79.8 percent have reported better-than-expected earnings, according to data from FactSet. Asian shares closed mixed on Friday, with Australia climbing while other major markets in the region turned in more measured performances as investors focused on trade headlines and upcoming economic events. The Nikkei 225 edged higher by 0.56 percent, or 125.88 points, to close at a session high of 22,712.75. Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi added 0.26 percent to finish at 2,294.99. Markets in China, however, lagged gains seen in the region, with the Shanghai Composite closing lower by 0.3 percent at 2,873.59 and the Shenzhen Composite pulling back by 0.66 percent by the end of the day. The blue-chip CSI 300 ended down by 0.42 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was directionless, trading flat at 3:23 p.m. Oil prices stabilized on Friday in quiet trading after three days of gains, taking support from Saudi Arabia halting crude transport through a key shipping lane, falling U.S. inventories and easing trade tensions between Washington and Europe. Brent futures were down 4 cents at $74.50 a barrel by 7:52 a.m. ET (1152 GMT), after gaining 0.8 percent on Thursday. They are heading for a near 2 percent gain this week, the first weekly increase in four. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures were 11 cents lower, at $69.50, after rising nearly 0.5 percent in the previous session. The contract is heading for a 1.3 percent weekly loss, a fourth week of declines. Gold prices edged lower on Friday as the dollar gained against major peers ahead of U.S. economic growth data that could shed light on the pace of rate hikes in the world's top economy. Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,219.80 an ounce. The precious metal was also on track for its third straight weekly decline. U.S. gold futures for August delivery were 0.2 percent lower at $1,223.20 an ounce.