Wednesday May 2nd


US stocks are set for a slightly higher open after Apple earnings

U.S. stock index futures pointed to slight gains ahead of Wednesday's open, following the release of Apple's latest quarterly figures while investors awaited a monetary policy announcement from the Federal Reserve. Around 8:20 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 3 points, indicating a higher open of 20.95 points. Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 futures indicated a positive start to the session for their respective markets. Apple reported quarterly earnings and revenue that surpassed market expectations. In the premarket, shares of the tech giant rose 4.4 percent and were among the best-performers in the S&P 500. The moves in premarket trade came as markets across the globe showed a mixed picture. On Tuesday, U.S. stocks finished mixed, with the Nasdaq finishing in the black as it focused on earnings out of the tech space. On Wednesday, Asia closed mostly lower, while in Europe, stocks traded higher as earnings took center stage. During today's session, earnings and central banking news are expected to be the focus for market participants. CVS Health and Estee Lauder are among the companies that reported better-than-expected earnings before the open on Wednesday. Garmin and Clorox also posted stronger-than-forecast results. In economic data, mortgage applications dropped 2.5 percent as rates reached their highest levels in nearly five years. ADP and Moody's Analytics also found that private payrolls grew by 204,000 in April, more than the expected 200,000. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is set to conclude the second day of its two-day meeting, where it is expected to comment on the current state of the U.S. economy and its monetary policy path. While market participants do not foresee any modifications to interest rates at the FOMC's May meeting, a change in rhetoric could be on the cards. The central bank's decision is due to be announced at 2 p.m. ET. Elsewhere, members of the United States' delegation will head to China this week, in an attempt to present a united front and discuss the trade relationship between the two countries. Asian stocks closed slightly lower on Wednesday following the mixed session on Wall Street as several markets in the region resumed trade after a holiday. Japan's Nikkei 225 edged down by 0.16 percent, or 35.25 points, to close at 22,472.78. The broader Topix also recorded slight weakness and finished lower by 0.15 percent as its mining and oil subindexes led losses for the day. Elsewhere, the Kospi shed 0.39 percent to close at 2,505.61 as most steelmakers slipped and automakers declined. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged down by 0.49 percent by 3:45 p.m. Mainland markets gave up early gains to close little changed, with the Shanghai composite ending flat at 3,082.10 and the Shenzhen composite inching lower by 0.07 percent to 1,774.90. Oil prices steadied on Wednesday, surrendering early gains after data showed further increases in U.S. shale supply and a rise in Iranian exports. Brent crude oil futures were down 18 cents at $72.95 per barrel at 8:26 a.m. ET (1226 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 17 cents at $67.42 per barrel. Gold prices edged up early Wednesday, having fallen almost one percent in the previous session on the back of a stronger U.S. dollar to hit their lowest level this year. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,306.51 per ounce at 0118 GMT. Gold fell to $1,301.51 in the previous session, its lowest level since Dec. 29. U.S. gold futures for June delivery rose about 0.1 percent to $1,307.60 per ounce.