Thursday July 27th


US futures rise with earnings in the spotlight on Wall Street

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday, as investors continued to wade through the busiest day of the earnings season. Dow futures rose 15 points while S&P and Nasdaq futures advanced 4.5 points and 43 points, respectively. Comcast and Dow-component Verizon are among the companies that posted quarterly results before the bell. and Starbucks are among the firms set to report after the close. In economic news, initial jobless claims came in at 244,000, slightly above the expected 240,000. Durable goods orders, meanwhile, rose 6.5 percent in June. The Kansas City Fed's manufacturing survey is set to follow that, slated to come out at 11 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, investors are likely to still be digesting the statement made by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). On Wednesday, the U.S. central bank left interest rates unchanged as widely expected, with the Fed saying in the statement that the committee expects to "begin implementing its balance sheet normalization program relatively soon, provided that the economy evolves broadly as anticipated". The Fed did, however, add that inflation remains below its target of 2 percent. In the political sphere, investors will be keeping a close eye on Washington DC on Thursday for any news out of the U.S. administration. Looking to commodities, investors were hopeful that a greater-than-expected fall in U.S. crude inventories would reduce the oversupply seen in the oil market. Despite this positive sentiment, prices came under slight pressure during trade, with U.S. crude hovering around $48.41, while Brent stood around $50.65 per barrel at 8:34 a.m. ET. In Europe, bourses were trading mixed in morning trade, while Asia-Pacific markets finished trade in the black. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index reversed earlier losses to rise 0.15 percent, or 29.48 points, and closed at 20,079.64. South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.36 percent, or 8.73 points, to end at 2,443.24. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.76 percent after opening trade above the 27,000 level. The index was buoyed by gains in several property developer stocks, with Evergrande shares higher by 10.05 percent at 3:03 p.m. HK/SIN. Mainland markets erased earlier losses to close higher. The Shanghai Composite edged up 0.05 percent, or 1.6179 points, to close at 3,249.2927 and the Shenzhen Composite surged 1.239 percent, or 22.8351 points to end at 1,865.9582. Shenzhen's tech-focused ChiNext Composite finished the session with 3.459 percent in gains. Gold rose for a second day on Thursday, hitting a six-week high, on rising demand for the yellow metal as the dollar dropped to a 13-month low after the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated that it would keep to a slow path of monetary tightening. Spot gold rose 0.1 percent to $1,261.26 per ounce. It climbed as high as $1,264.90 an ounce earlier in the session, the most since June 15. U.S. gold futures for August delivery rose 1 percent to $1,261.20 per ounce.