Binary news – Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Monday, October 22:
1. Wall Street Points to Higher Open
U.S. stocks were set to open slightly higher, as investors turned their focus to the latest batch of corporate earnings.
At 5:25AM ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were up 50 points, or about 0.2%, the S&P 500 futures added 5 points, or around 0.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 35 points, or roughly 0.5%.
Energy management firm Halliburton (NYSE:HAL), toy maker Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS), personal care company Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB) and off-road vehicle manufacturer Polaris Industries (NYSE:PII) will post their respective financial results before the bell on Monday.
Looking ahead, notable companies reporting this week also include McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), 3M (NYSE:MMM), and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) on Tuesday; Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Boeing (NYSE:BA), Visa (NYSE:V), Ford (NYSE:F), and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) on Wednesday; Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) on Thursday; and Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) and Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) on Friday.
The corporate earnings season is off to a strong start. With more than 15% of S&P 500 companies having reported, 83% have topped analyst expectations, according to FactSet.
2. Italy Boosts European Markets
European markets kicked the week off with gains after Moody’s kept Italy’s sovereign rating stable instead of cutting it to negative.
That helped calm investor anxiety as it was seen reducing the likelihood of a further downgrade to junk status for now.
Italy’s FTSE MIB index was up around 1% in mid-morning trade, with lenders such as Unicredit (MI:CRDI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) faring the best.
Elsewhere across the continent, nearly all of the region’s major bourses also enjoyed healthy gains, following three straight days of losses, with most sectors in positive territory.
Germany’s DAX rose by around 0.6%, while the UK’s FTSE tacked on 0.5%.
3. Chinese Equities Jump Most in Two Years
China’s stock markets rallied sharply to enjoy their best day since March 2016, as Beijing’s pledge of support for the economy and companies boosted appetite for riskier assets.
The stimulus pledge comes after the release of weaker-than-expected GDP data late last week, which revealed the slowest quarterly growth since the 2009 financial crisis.
The blue-chip CSI300 Index jumped 4.3%, while the main Shanghai Composite Index added 4%.
The strong rally helped lift most other markets in the region.
Japan’s Nikkei erased losses to close around 0.4% higher, after being down more than 1% earlier, while South Korean stocks edged up 0.2%.
4. Dollar, Treasury Yields Hold Steady
Away from equities, the dollar was little changed, as U.S. Treasury yields held steady, taking a breather from last week’s push higher.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was last at 95.47.
In the bond market, yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note stood at 3.20%.
In economic data, the Chicago Federal Reserve will release national activity index figures at 8:30AM ET (1230GMT).
The highlight of this week’s data releases will come Friday, when investors get their first look at third-quarter economic growth figures.
5. Brent Oil Rises Back Above $80
In commodities, oil prices were higher to start the week, as looming U.S. sanctions on Iran, the third-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), are widely expected to lead to a tighter market.
The sanctions, which from Nov. 4 will include Tehran’s oil exports, are being reinstated after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year.
Simmering geopolitical tensions between OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and the U.S. over the suspected death of Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist, who disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this month, also provided support.
Benchmark Brent crude oil futures were up 30 cents, or 0.3%, at $80.06 a barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate WTI crude futures were at $69.50 a barrel, up 38 cents, or 0.5%, above their last close.