U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a higher open on Monday, as the latest round of corporate earnings continued to support the thesis that companies were growing.
What are the main benchmarks doing?
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMM8, +0.70% rose 177 points, or 0.7%, to 24,513, while S&P 500 futures ESM8, +0.70% added 19.7 points, or 0.7%, to reach 2,677. Nasdaq-100 futures NQM8, +0.64% gained 46 points, or 0.6%, to hit 6,686.75.
For the week, the Dow booked a gain of 1.8%, while the S&P rose 2% and the Nasdaq produced a weekly gain of 2.8%.
What’s driving markets
Geopolitical issues remain in focus after the U.S. joined with France and Britain to launch missiles that destroyed much of Syria’s chemical-weapons capabilities on Saturday. The strikes left much of President Bashar al-Assad’s conventional military facilities intact, which may ease fears of an escalation in tensions with Russia, a backer of Syria’s regime.
Corporate earnings are likely to be more important for investors, however. A number of bellwether names, including Netflix Inc. NFLX, +0.94% and General Electric Co. GE, +0.19% are scheduled to report in the coming days, joining Bank of America, which reported early Monday.
Which stocks are in focus?
Bank of America Corp. BAC, +0.13% rose 0.7% in premarket after beating profit and revenue expectations. The results follow JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM, +0.38% Citigroup Inc. C, -0.25% and Wells Fargo & Co. WFC, -0.51% all of which lost ground Friday even after posting earnings that were either in-line or better than expected. Some say that could be due to concerns that earnings growth has peaked.
U.S.-listed shares of WPP PLC WPP, -5.26% fell nearly 5% in premarket trading after news Chief Executive Officer Martin Sorrell has resigned over a probe into an allegation of personal misconduct.
Icahn Enterprises L.P. IEP, +0.69% rose 1.3% after announcing its majority-owned Tropicana Entertainment Inc. has entered a deal to sell its real estate to Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. GLPI, +2.39% for $1.85 billion. It will also merge its gaming and hotel business into Eldorado Resorts Inc. ERI, +13.45% Shares of Eldorado jumped 6% in premarket trading.
Alkermes PLC ALKS, +4.89% jumped 21% after the Food and Drug Administration accepted the biopharmaceutical firm’s new drug application for its treatment for depression.
MoviePass majority owner Helios & Matheson Analytics Inc. HMNY, +1.54% rallied 3.7% in premarket trading, extending a gain that started after Verizon Communications Inc. VZ, +0.48% disclosed a large equity stake in the company.
Navistar International Corp. NAV, +4.05% rose 6.7% before the bell after Volkswagen AG’s commercial-vehicles business said it is considering increasing its stake in the U.S. truck company to more than 17%.
What are analysts saying?
• “For now, investors appear at ease with the situation and as long as no further escalation occurs, attention may now switch to other matters such as first quarter earnings season,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, in a note to clients.
• Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading, said it is a little worrying that investor expectations are so high running into earnings season, given financials drove much of Friday’s modest S&P 500 losses.
“As companies report earnings, those high expectations are probably the greatest threat to share price performance going forward. If shares continue to be sold off following a company’s good but not great earnings, it will be a negative omen for the broad tape,” said O’Rourke.
What is on the economic docket?
Sales at U.S. retailers rose 0.6% in March to end a streak of three straight declines, the Commerce Department reported Monday, underscoring the improved financial picture of American households and the resiliency of an economic expansion that could turn out to be the longest ever.
Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic will kick off a busy week for Fed appearances on Monday as he’s expected to speak on the economy and rural market trends to the Shoals Chamber of Commerce in Florence, Ala., at 12:15 p.m. Eastern Time.
Meanwhile, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said he expects the central bank will soon reach its 2% objective, making it easier to push on with interest-rate hiking plans, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that was published Monday.
What are other markets doing?
U.S.-listed VanEck Vectors Russia ETF RSX, -1.37% dropped 1.3% in premarket, tracking a 0.4% drop in the Russia RTS index ahead of possible U.S. sanctions. The ruble USDRUB, -0.0762% was rising against the dollar, which bought 61.83 rubles, down from Friday’s 62.35.
Gold futures GCM8, +0.16% GCM8, +0.16% inched lower, while the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.46% DXY, -0.46% held steady. Oil prices CLK8, -0.80% pulled back as Syria worries eased somewhat and investors cashed in on some of last week’s big gains.