US stock futures change shortly ahead of more earnings reports


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, January 12, 2022.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

US stock futures were little changed Monday night as traders braced for the latest batch of corporate earnings reports.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 27 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 futures rose slightly and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.1%. US markets were closed on Monday due to the Martin Luther King holiday.

The shortened trading week will include quarterly reports from 35 S&P 500 companies, including Bank of America, UnitedHealth and Netflix. Goldman Sachs is also expected to release its latest quarterly numbers on Tuesday before the bell.

Big banks Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup kicked off earnings season on Friday, with all three companies posting earnings that beat expectations. However, market reaction to these results was mixed. Wells Fargo shares posted a gain on the results, but JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup slipped.

Overall, 26 S&P 500 companies have so far released calendar fourth quarter results, according to Refinitiv. Among these companies, nearly 77% posted net results that exceeded analysts’ expectations.

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“The fourth quarter economic backdrop was positive, boding well for earnings and revenue growth,” Mark Haefele, CIO of UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a note last week. “Business guidance also looks set to point to continued demand strength in 2022, although omicron is disrupting some businesses at the moment.”

The spread of the omicron variant Covid-19 has raised questions about the state of the global economic recovery since its discovery was announced. Some countries and regions have reinstated lockdowns and other social distancing measures to curb the outbreak.

However, recent data indicates that the spread may be easing. In New York, the seven-day average of new daily cases has been falling since hitting a record high earlier this month, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. In Maryland, daily infections are down 27% week over week. Cases are also falling in South Africa and the UK.

Difficult start to the year

Monday’s moves come as stocks struggle to kick off 2022.

The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are all down for the year on concerns over the recent surge in inflation and the prospect of tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker told CNBC last week that the central bank could raise rates three or four times this year. He noted that inflation is “more persistent than we thought a while ago.

Technology, the largest sector in the S&P 500 by market capitalization, has been particularly hard hit this year, falling more than 4%. Big tech names like Meta Platforms, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet and Apple are all down year-to-date.

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