Friday January 24th


Dow set to rise nearly 100 points, American Express gains on earnings

U.S. stock index futures moved higher on Friday as the corporate earnings season rolled on with strong results from American Express while worries over the deadly coronavirus eased. Around 7:35 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 86 points and pointed to an opening gain of 96 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to a solid start to the session. American Express reported a quarterly profit and revenue that beat analyst expectations. Those results were driven in part by strong card fee revenues. The stock gained more than 2% in the premarket. More than 16% of the S&P 500 has released quarterly results thus far. Of those companies, about 70% have reported better-than-expected earnings, FactSet data shows. However, stocks have been subdued this week by fears of the China coronavirus spreading, with the death toll rising to 26 and the number of confirmed cases increasing to 830. The S&P 500 and Dow entered Friday’s session on pace for their first weekly loss of the year while the Nasdaq Composite was barely higher week to date. The virus originated in China, but cases have also been reported in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea. The World Health Organization on Thursday called the outbreak an “emergency in China,” but stopped short of saying it constituted a global public health emergency. This led to a sigh of relief for investors, who were worried the situation had escalated to a global health emergency. Meanwhile in economic data, manufacturing figures for January are due at 9:45 a.m. ET. Stocks in major Asian markets edged higher on Friday as the number of coronavirus cases in mainland China rose to more than 800, with the death toll increasing to 25. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index recovered from an earlier slip, rising 0.15% to close early at 27,949.64. The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed 0.13% higher at 23,827.18 while the Topix index finished its trading session flat at 1,730.44. Major markets across the region such as China and South Korea were closed on Friday ahead of the Lunar New Year that starts on Saturday. Oil slipped below $62 a barrel on Friday and was heading for a weekly decline as concern that a virus in China may spread, curbing travel and oil demand, overshadowed supply cuts. Global benchmark Brent fell 27 cents to $61.77. Brent was down about 4% this week, its third consecutive weekly drop. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 15 cents to $55.44 per barrel. Gold edged down on Friday as the dollar rose and appetite for riskier assets improved after the World Health Organisation tempered fears of a global coronavirus outbreak. Spot gold was 0.2% lower at $1,559.58 per ounce but holding above the key $1,550 support level and en route to a post small weekly gain of about 0.3%, as bets on easy monetary policy globally and lingering uncertainties on the world stage buoyed appetite for the safe haven. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.4% to $1,559.80 per ounce.