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Market Snapshot: Dow futures struggle for direction as fiscal stimulus talks continue; Netflix shares sink

Stock-index futures trade near unchanged Wednesday as investors keep close tabs on long-running fiscal stimulus talks and sift through corporate earnings reports. Read More...

Netflix earnings in focus.

Lionel Bonaventure/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Stock-index futures pointed to a flat start for equities Wednesday as investors monitored long-running fiscal stimulus talks in Washington and sifted through a stack of corporate earnings reports, including disappointing results from pandemic highflier Netflix Inc.

What are major benchmarks doing?

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average YM00, -0.10% rose 5 points to 28,187, while S&P 500 futures ES00, -0.10% were up 2.8 points, or less than 0.1%, at 3,435. Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, -0.22% were up 19.25 points or 0.2%, at 11,680.

The Dow DJIA, +0.40% on Tuesday rose 113.37 points, or 0.4%, to finish at 28,308.79, after rising as high as 28,575.03 earlier. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.47% added 16.20 points to end at 3,443.12, a gain of 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.32% advanced 37.61 points or 0.3%, to 11,516.49.

What’s driving the market?

Stocks were buoyed Tuesday as talks over another fiscal stimulus plan between the Trump administration and House Democrats continued, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., waving off her self-imposed Tuesday deadline for a pre-election deal. Talks were set to continue on Wednesday.

The Republican-controlled Senate remains a potential sticking point, however, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reportedly still reluctant to take up a large spending proposal.

“Negotiations are set to continue today…and anything suggesting that Democrats and Republicans are leaning towards a deal may help further the broader market sentiment,” said Charalambos Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group, in a note. “quities are likely to gain some more, and safe havens to stay under selling interest.”

The analyst, however, said investors should continue to take developments day by day, warning that the continued rapid spread of COVID-19 could threaten the global economy if it forces further lockdowns of business activity. Investors might also be wary of increasing long positions in equities as the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election draws near, he said.

Read: Why stock-market investors are beginning to focus on Biden’s narrowing lead over Trump

Related: Complacency warning? ‘Election premium’ in currency market collapses much like it did in 2016

The U.S. corporate earnings reporting season remains in full swing also. Among the most closely watched names, results from Netflix Inc. NFLX, -0.99% disappointed investors after Tuesday’s closing bell, reflecting a slowdown in new subscribers and a wide miss on earnings. Shares in the video streaming giant were down more than 5% in pre-market trade after rising more than 60% in the year to date as pandemic lockdowns fueled demand.

Several Federal Reserve officials are set to speak Wednesday, including Gov. Lael Brainard, who will deliver remarks on the economic outlook to the Society of Professional Economists in the U.K. at 8:50 a.m. Eastern.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester is slated to discuss the economic outlook at a conference in the U.K. at 10 a.m. Eastern, while Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari talks about education at a Minnesota event at noon. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan is set to deliver a speech in Houston at noon Eastern.

The Fed’s Beige Book, a compilation of economic anecdotes, is scheduled for releaset 2 p.m. Eastern.

Which companies are in focus?

How are other markets trading?

In global equities, the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.09% closed down 0.1%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.75% gained 0.8% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index NIK, +0.30% advanced 0.3%. The pan-European Stoxx 600 Europe SXXP, -0.92%  was off 0.0%, while London’s FTSE 100 UKX, -1.29%   gained 1.1%.

Oil futures were lower in early trade, with the U.S. benchmark CL00, -1.87%  down 69 cents, or 1.7% to $41.01 a barrel. Gold futures GCZ20, +0.27%,   were up $4 or 0.2%, to $1,919.40 an ounce.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.29%  , a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was down 0.3%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, 0.815%  was up almost 3 basis points to 0.815%. Yields and bond prices move in opposite directions.

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