U.S. stock futures struggle as earnings roll out from JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Middle East tensions rise

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U.S. stock index futures pointed to a mostly weaker open Friday, as investors absorbed earnings reports from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other big Wall Street banks, while oil prices surged as investors monitored escalating tensions in the Middle East.

How are stock-index futures trading?

  • S&P 500 futures

    slipped 2 points to 4,378

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
    rose 41 points, or 0.1%, to 33,836

  • Nasdaq-100 futures
    fell 0.2%, or 39.25 points, to 15,277

On Thursday, the S&P 500
slipped 0.6% to finish at 4,349.61, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average
dropped 173.73 points, or 0.5% to 33,631.14. The Nasdaq Composite
fell 0.6% to 13,574.22. The losses broke a four-day winning streak for those indexes.

What’s driving markets?

Earnings reports were front and center for investors with JPMorgan Chase & Co.
up 0.6% in premarket trading after reporting stronger-than-expected third-quarter profit thanks to higher net interest income and lower credit costs. Shares of Wells Fargo & Co.
rose 2% after its third-quarter earnings also beat forecasts by a comfortable margin.

JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said the bank delivered “solid” results amid a tough macroeconomic backdrop now complicated by another war. “This may be the most dangerous time the world has seen in decades,” he said. 

Results from BlackRock Inc.
and Citigroup Inc.

are still ahead.

Read: Q3 earnings are here: S&P 500 heads toward year of profit declines as JPMorgan, and Delta report this week

Investors are facing the fourth-straight quarter of earnings declines overall for the S&P 500, with third-quarter per-share profit collectively set to fall 0.3%, according to FactSet.

Thursday saw stocks decline following data that showed elevated consumer prices. U.S. data due Friday includes September import prices at 8:30 a.m. Eastern and a preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey for October at 9 a.m. Eastern. Philadelphia President Patrick Harker is due to speak at 9 a.m. Eastern.

U.S. September inflation data pressured bond yields higher on Thursday, though that move was partially reversing on Friday as Israel’s military ordered more than 1 million people to leave Gaza, raising fears a ground offensive could be under way soon.

The United Nations has warned that such an evacuation was not just impossible, but disastrous. The development comes nearly a week after an attack on Israel that has left more 2,800 people dead on both sides of the conflict.

The yield for the 10-year Treasury note
was down 6 basis points at 4.643%, and that of the 2-year
was down 3 basis points to 5.037%. Yields move inversely to price.

A shift into bonds signaled some investors are seeking safe-haven assets, with gold prices
climbing $13.30 to $1,896 an ounce, a gain of around 2.7% so far this week.

Crude oil prices
surged nearly 4% to $86.06 a barrel amid those increasing tensions in the Middle East.

Companies in focus

  • JPMorgan Chase
    stock rose in premarket trading after the bank on Friday reported a stronger-than-expected third-quarter profit as the bank benefitted from a boost in net interest income and below-normal credit costs.

  • Wells Fargo & Co.
    stock rose 1.6% in premarket trading after the Wall Street bank reported forecast-beating third-quarter earnings.

  • UnitedHealth Group Inc.
    increased by 1% after the healthcare-services and insurance giant reported better-than-forecast results and lifted full-year guidance.

  • Dollar General Corp. shares
    rallied 7% after the dollar-store chain said that Todd Vasos was returning as chief executive after retiring less than a year ago.

  • Microsoft
    was steady after U.K. regulators on Friday gave Microsoft Corp. the go-ahead for the tech giant’s $68.7 billion acquisition of videogame holding company, Activision Blizzard, ending a long saga.

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