Wednesday July 19th


Nasdaq points to record open as earnings dominate

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday, as investors brace themselves for another slew of corporate earnings reports. Nasdaq futures rose 16 points, pointing the index towards a record open. S&P and Dow futures traded 1.75 points higher and flat, respectively. In earnings news, Morgan Stanley and M&T Bank were among the companies that reported before the bell. Both banks topped Wall Street expectations. American Express, Qualcomm and T-Mobile US are some of the major names set to report after the close. Investors also digested economic data, with housing starts rising more than expected. Mortgage Applications rose 6.3 percent. Meanwhile in the energy market, oil prices posted slight gains, however, any positive sentiment was capped on the back of an uptick in U.S. crude inventories, and glut concerns. At 8:58 a.m. ET on Wednesday, U.S. crude was trading around $46.40, while Brent hovered around $48.90. News out of Washington D.C. is expected to keep investors on their toes, as Republicans continue to grapple with health-care difficulties. In Europe, bourses were mostly in the black during early trade, while Asia-Pacific markets finished trade on a positive note. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent, or 20.95 points, to close at 20,020.86, while South Korea's benchmark Kospi index reversed earlier losses to close up 0.16 percent, or 3.9 points, at 2,429.94. Markets in greater China were also in the money. The Hang Seng Index traded higher by 0.53 percent at 3:12 p.m. HK/SIN, gaining for a fourth consecutive session. The Shanghai Composite surged 1.42 percent, or 45.2995 points, to end at 3,232.8667, and the Shenzhen Composite rose 1.531 percent, or 27.7306 points, to finish the session at 1,839.0569. Gold steadied just above $1,240 an ounce on Wednesday as the dollar's recovery from 10-month lows dampened upward momentum in the metal after three straight sessions of gains. Spot gold was at $1,241.92 an ounce, little changed from late on Tuesday, but off that session's two-week peak of $1,244.56. U.S. gold futures for August delivery were down 70 cents an ounce at $1,242.20.