Stocks on Wednesday looked set to trade flat to slightly higher, a day after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq carved out their first records in months, underscoring a rebound for stocks since an ugly decline in the last three months of 2018.

The advance for equity markets come ahead of a parade of quarterly results, featuring Dow components Boeing Co. and Caterpillar Inc.

How are benchmarks faring?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average

YMM9, +0.13%

 gained 41 points, or 0.2%, at 26,680, those for the S&P 500 index

ESM9, -0.01%

 rose less than a point at 2,938.50, with Nasdaq-100 futures

NQM9, +0.02%

 gaining 2.75 points, or less than 0.1%, at 7,840.50.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 index

SPX, +0.88%

 added 25.71 points, or 0.9%, to 2,933.68, to close at its first record since Sept. 20, while the Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, +1.32%

gained 105.56 points, or 1.3%, to 8,120.82, marking its first all-time high since Aug. 29. The Dow

DJIA, +0.55%

meanwhile, advanced 145.34 points, or 0.6%, to 26,656.39, to stand less than 1% away from its record.

What’s driving the market?

Corporate quarterly results remain a central focus for Wall Street midweek. More than a fifth of the S&P 500 constituents have reported results, with nearly 80% of those companies producing results that topped analysts consensus estimates, compared with about 65% in the fourth quarter, according to data from Refinitiv.

To be sure, that reflects lowered estimates heading into the quarter as worries about a recession and anemic growth outside of the U.S., perhaps, amplified by a trade spat between Washington and Beijing.

On deck for Wednesday, were heavyweight large-capitalization companies, including Dow components Boeing and Caterpillar, which could also offer further guidance about the earnings outlook for the rest of 2019.

Against the backdrop of earnings, the record climb for markets Tuesday, however, failed to provide a significant catalyst for Asian markets, market participants point out, with that being viewed as a signal that some caution about the recent ascent remains.

Elsewhere, recent reports indicated that China may dial back on a cocktail of economic stimulus after better-than-expected growth, with that coming as negotiations on trade are expected to restart next week between U.S. and Chinese officials.

The negotiations will begin April 30 in Beijing, to be followed by a Chinese delegation, led by Liu He, that will travel to Washington for continued talks starting May 8.

What are analysts saying?

“Apparently, we are stuck in a stock market rally that no one likes, as you would be troubled to find another record-breaking U.S. session that was received which such low-spirited appeal from Asian investors,” wrote Stephen Innes, head of trading at SPI Asset Management in a daily research note.

How are other markets and assets performing?

The Shanghai Composite

SHCOMP, +0.09%

 gained a tepid 0.1% and the CSI 300 Index

000300, +0.28%

 rose 0.3%, while major European stock markets, as measured by the Stoxx Europe 600 index,

SXXP, +0.19%

were higher, up 0.2%.

Gold prices

GCM9, +0.01%

 were trading at the flatline, while the ICE Dollar Index

DXY, +0.08%

was virtually unchanged at 97.65, holding just below a 22-month high touched on Tuesday in intraday trade.

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Boeing

BA, -0.31%

  were trading flat ahead of its quarterly results, while those for Caterpillar

CAT, -0.25%

 weren’t seeing active trade, according to FactSet data.

After Wednesday’s close, Microsoft Corp.

MSFT, +1.36%

Facebook Inc.

FB, +1.29%

Visa Inc.

V, +0.79%

as well as electric-car marker Tesla Inc. ,

TSLA, +0.44%

 are due to report results.

Restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.

CMG, +0.11%

and payment processor PayPal Holdings Inc.

PYPL, +0.08%

 will also report after hours.

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2019-04-24