Tuesday October 31st


Futures point to a higher open after earnings; Fed meeting begins

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open Tuesday as investors pored over another cluster of corporate earnings. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 27 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 4.75 points and 23 points, respectively. Earnings season continued to shake up sentiment on the second trading day of the week. Dow-component Pfizer reported better-than-expected earnings, sending the stock 0.9 percent higher in the premarket. Aetna posted mixed quarterly results, with the top line missing estimates and earnings beating forecast; its stock rose 1.9 percent. Cummins reported revenue and a profit that topped Wall Street expectations, lifting the stock nearly 2 percent. Mastercard and Kellogg also reported better-than-expected results. Under Armour posted a better-than-expected profit, but the sports apparel retailer also trimmed its full-year earnings and sales guidance. Class A Under Armour shares dropped 16 percent before the bell. A downpour of data is also expected to keep Wall Street busy during trade. First off, the employment cost index is set to come out at 8:30 a.m. ET, followed by the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index at 9 a.m. ET. At 9:45 a.m. ET, Chicago PMI is set to be released, with consumer confidence and housing vacancies both due out at 10 a.m. ET. The Dallas Fed's Texas Service Sector Outlook Survey will then come out at 10:30 a.m. ET. In the central bank sphere, the Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting is set to begin Tuesday with an interest rate decision set to be announced Wednesday. Investors will be paying close attention to this event, to see if they can garner any information about how the U.S. economy is currently performing. Meanwhile, White House officials told CNBC Monday that President Donald Trump was expected to name his choice for the next chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday. Turbulence in the U.S. political space is expected to shake up sentiment Tuesday. On Monday, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was ordered to be placed under house arrest, following his "not guilty" plea in response to a 12-count indictment in federal court, linked to foreign lobbying contracts and money laundering. Meanwhile, court filings released Monday revealed that George Papadopoulos, an advisor to President Trump's campaign had pleaded guilty earlier in October for providing false information to FBI agents about his encounters with Russian nationals. On the commodities front, oil prices were steady with U.S. crude trading around $54.16 at 8:35 a.m. ET, while Brent hovered around $60.16 per barrel. European stocks, meanwhile, were mostly higher during market trade, while markets in Asia closed mixed overnight. Japan's Nikkei 225 pared losses to close flat at 22,011.61. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi rose 0.86 percent to close at 2,523.43. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was flat at 3:13 p.m. HK/SIN as casino stocks erased early losses to climb higher. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite pared some losses made in the last session to finish the session 0.12 percent higher at 3,394.5033. The Shenzhen Composite rose 0.694 percent to close at 2,002.2838. Gold steadied on Tuesday amid a slightly weaker dollar, but the precious metal remained largely in a holding pattern as investors awaited central bank meetings, U.S. payrolls data and the announcement of the next Federal Reserve chair. Spot gold was little changed at $1,275.69 per ounce at 0926 GMT. It has shed about 0.3 percent so far in October, in what could be its second straight monthly decline.