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Wall Street gears up for upbeat earnings

'The markets are going to be driven by earnings reports while geopolitical problems take a backseat for now' Photograph: (Getty)

New York, United States Jul 18, 2016, 01.42 PM (IST)
Wall Street was set to open higher today, setting the stage for the Dow and S&P 500 to hit fresh highs, as US corporate reports continue to top expectations.

Equity futures, which dipped after the close on Friday, shrugged off the impact of an attempted coup in Turkey.

With the S&P and Dow hitting record intraday highs almost everyday last week, investors will assess the quality of second-quarter earnings to justify stock valuations.

"The markets are going to be driven by earnings reports while geopolitical problems take a backseat for now," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

Bank of America profits show corporations making money 

Bank of America, the number 2 US bank by assets, and fellow S&P component Hasbro posted better than expected profit for the second quarter, mirroring the results of the few companies, including big banks, that reported last week.

"The handful of results that we have got have been okay and earnings have mostly beaten expectations. It shows that corporations are still making money, and that's what counts," Cardillo said.

Dow e-minis were up 32 points, or 0.17 per cent at 8:27 a.m. ET (1227 GMT), with 28,500 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.75 points, or 0.27 per cent, with 186,056 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10.5 points, or 0.23 per cent, on volume of 25,766 contracts.

Bank of America shares rose nearly 1 per cent to $13.79 premarket. Hasbro was off 0.6 pe rcent.

Investors favouring riskier assets?  

British chip designer ARM's US-listed shares surged 43.5 per cent to $67.64 premarket, after Japan's SoftBank agreed to buy the company for $32.2 billion.

A host of US chip stock such as Micron, Nvidia and Broadcom were up between 1.0 and 1.5 per cent.

Earnings of S&P 500 companies are now estimated to have declined 4.7 per cent in the second quarter, less than the 5 per cent drop estimated earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data.

That adds to hopes that earnings contraction bottomed out in the previous quarter, a view that could be reinforced when IBM, Yahoo and Netflix report results after markets close.

Gold prices have fallen, while the yen was lower, indicating investors' favour for more riskier assets has been growing after weeks of uncertainty. Low Treasury yields in recent weeks have also helped steer investors to equities.

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