(Reuters) – Nasdaq futures rallied more than 1% on Wednesday after upbeat results from Microsoft and Alphabet dwarfed worries about the impact of rising interest rates on the U.S. economy.
Microsoft Corp climbed 7.5% after it beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly results, and said that artificial intelligence products were stimulating sales.
Alphabet Inc rose 1.0% after the Google parent said it would buy back $70 billion in stock and topped first-quarter profit and revenue estimates on strong demand for cloud services and ad sales.
Wall Street’s major averages suffered their deepest declines so far this month on Tuesday as a downbeat UPS forecast exacerbated investor concerns about a slowing U.S. economy while plunging deposits at First Republic Bank added to jitters about the bank sector’s health.
Of the 124 S&P 500 companies that reported first-quarter profit through Tuesday, 79% topped analysts’ expectations, as per Refinitiv IBES data. In a typical quarter, 66% companies beat estimates.
Earnings forecasts have also improved, with analysts expecting a 3.9% contraction in first-quarter profit for S&P 500 companies compared with a 5.2% decline estimated at the beginning of the earnings season.
Boeing Co, Boston Scientific Corp and General Dynamics Corp are among the companies set to report results before the opening bell, while Meta Platforms Inc is scheduled to report after market close on Wednesday.
At 5:42 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 33 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 17.5 points, or 0.43%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 160.75 points, or 1.25%.
Durable goods data for March is scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. ET. A key inflation metric as well as U.S. GDP data for the first quarter will be out later in the week.
Data on Tuesday showed U.S. consumer confidence dropped to a nine-month low in April, signalling that the economy could fall into recession this year.
Investors are keenly awaiting the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision on May 3 for clues on how far policymakers will hike interest rates.
Traders have given about 80% odds to the U.S. central bank hiking rates by 25 basis points next week, as per CMEGroup’s Fedwatch tool, with most expecting the Fed to hold rates before starting to cut them later this year.
Reflecting mounting anxiety among investors, the cost of insuring exposure to U.S. sovereign debt rose to its highest since 2011, driven up by unease that the government could hit its debt ceiling sooner than expected.
The U.S. House of Representatives could as early as Wednesday vote on a bill to sharply cut spending for a decade in exchange for a short-term hike in the debt ceiling, though it was unclear if it had enough support in the Republican majority to pass.
Among other stocks, Visa Inc inched up 0.9% as the payments processor reported a better-than-expected second-quarter profit and bet on sustained growth at its payments business.
PacWest Bancorp rallied 17.4% as the regional lender beat estimates for first-quarter profit as it managed to stabilize deposit outflows.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay DwivediS)