Thursday January 23rd


Dow futures fall after Procter & Gamble shares decline on results

U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday as investors digested the latest batch of corporate earnings along with worries over the deadly coronavirus spreading. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 33 points, led lower by Procter & Gamble shares. The stock dipped 1.9% after the company posted mixed quarterly numbers. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures pointed to a flat start to the session. NBCUniversal-parent Comcast and Travelers both reported better-than-expected quarterly figures. Comcast shares climbed more than 3% in the premarket, but Travelers’ stock dipped 2%. More than 12% of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly earnings. Of those companies, about 70% have beaten analyst expectations, FactSet data shows. But sentiment was kept in check as the spread of the China coronavirus has placed renewed downward pressure on global equity markets, with the death toll rising to 17 and the World Health Organization set to reconvene Thursday to decide whether to declare a global health emergency. On Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases of the new strain of coronavirus, which originated in China’s Wuhan city and has now been detected throughout Asia and as far away as the U.S., reached 571. Asian shares tumbled overnight, while Chinese Treasury futures surged, as fears of an economic fallout from the virus sent investors running for cover. The Shanghai Composite dropped 2.75%, its biggest one-day loss since May 6, when it plummeted 5.6%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dropped 1% along with Korea’s Kospi index. Wall Street is coming off a choppy session in which ended with the major averages closing along the flatline. Those moves come as Wall Street’s recent record-setting rally takes a breather. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are all down for the week entering Thursday’s session. On the data front, initial and continuing jobless claims figures for January are due at 8:30 a.m. ET. Oil prices fell to their lowest in seven weeks on Thursday, sliding more than 1% on concern that the spread of a respiratory virus from China may lower fuel demand if it stunts economic growth in an echo of the SARS epidemic nearly 20 years ago. Brent crude futures fell 97 cents, or 1.5%, to $62.26 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures fell 96 cents, or 1.7%, to $55.79 a barrel. The contract declined 2.7% on Wednesday. Gold eased on Thursday as investors booked profits from recent rallies but held above the $1,550 technical support level on continuing low interest rates and a drop in risk appetite. Spot gold was down 0.3% at $1,554.24 an ounce. U.S. gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,553.80.