Wednesday April 18th


Stocks are set to extend gains after Morgan Stanley's blockbuster earnings

U.S. stock index futures added to their gains on Wednesday after investment bank Morgan Stanley's quarterly results easily beat expectations. Around 7:10 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 94 points, indicating a gain of 46.37 points at the open. Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 futures also indicated a positive start to Wednesday's session for their respective markets. Shares of Morgan Stanley rose 1.6 percent in the premarket after the company said its first-quarter revenue was a record. United Continental and CSX also rose before the bell on the back of stronger-than-expected earnings, rising 3.7 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively. Other companies set to report quarterly results Wednesday include American Express and Alcoa. The moves in premarket trade come after a strong Wall Street finish on Tuesday, where the Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 200 points by the close. U.S. markets were lifted higher on the back of a strong set of earnings from major U.S. companies, including Netflix. Consequently, the topic will remain at the forefront on Wednesday. On the economic data front, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book is due out at 2 p.m. ET. Investors will be scouring the documents to see if there are any additional clues on how the U.S. economy is currently performing. Mortgage applications will come out at 7 a.m. ET, as per usual. Meantime, President Donald Trump will host the second day of his official working visit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida, where the two leaders are expected to talk about peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, trade and investment ties. Investors will be keeping an eye on the geopolitical front, after the U.S. military conducted missile strikes against the Syrian government last weekend in response to a suspected chemical attack that took place in the Middle Eastern country. Markets in Asia closed higher on Wednesday, as investor confidence firmed on the back of Wall Street's advance following strong earnings. The gains also came amid lingering concerns over trade-related developments. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose by 1.42 percent, or 310.61 points, to close at 22,158.20 and the broader Topix added 1.14 percent. Across the Korean Strait, the benchmark Kospi advanced 1.07 percent to end at 2,479.98. Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed higher by 0.74 percent at 30,284.25, off an intraday high of 30,487.17 seen in the morning. Mainland markets finished the day in positive territory, with the Shanghai composite erasing losses seen earlier to close up 0.8 percent at 3,091.31. The Shenzhen composite rose 1.08 percent to 1,803.84. Oil prices edged up on Wednesday, lifted by a reported fall in U.S. crude inventories and by the ongoing risk of supply disruptions. Brent crude oil futures were at $71.90 per barrel at 0117 GMT, up 32 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 33 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $66.85 a barrel. Gold prices rebounded on Wednesday while the dollar and stocks pared gains, as upbeat U.S. economic data drives higher demand for riskier assets. Spot gold was up 0.38 percent at $1,352.36 per ounce at 8:42 a.m. ET, while U.S. gold futures for June delivery rose 0.44 percent at $1,355.80 per ounce.