By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – U.S. stocks are seen drifting Wednesday, with investors cautious as the new earnings season starts in earnest, starting with the banking sector.
The broad-based S&P 500 index closed at a record high on Tuesday, rising 0.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%, or 68 points, but had been down more than 100 points intraday, and the Nasdaq Composite ended up 1.1%
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) started the ball rolling, posting strong gains in both revenues and earnings, although its stock is down 1% in premarket trading. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) also set to release first-quarter earnings before the bell.
Investors will also be looking out for trading trends, outlooks for economic recovery as more areas open up, and any commentary on additional Archegos fallout.
First-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 25% in the quarter, according to Refinitiv IBES data, which would be the biggest quarterly gain since 2018. The relative gains are made easier by the collapse of most companies’ business in March last year as the pandemic exploded.
Also of interest Wednesday will be the stock market debut of Coinbase Global, the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, which received a reference price of $250 per share on Tuesday. The company said last week that it expects to report a first-quarter profit of up to $800 million.
The economic data slate includes March import prices, which will be of extra interest after consumer prices rose 0.6% on Tuesday, the largest gain since August 2012, while the Fed’s Beige Book is expected to showcase improving economic conditions around the country.
There are also a number of Fed speakers due to discuss the economic outlook on Wednesday, including Chairman Jerome Powell, who is set to speak at an Economic Club of Washington.
Oil prices pushed higher Wednesday, helped by the International Energy Agency joining OPEC in raising its forecasts for global oil demand this year, by an average of 230,000 barrels a day from its March forecasts.
This added to the positive tone generated by Tuesday’s industry data showed U.S. oil inventories declined more than expected last week, a drop of 3.6 million barrels in the week, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
Official inventory figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration are due later Wednesday.
U.S. Futures Largely Flat; JPMorgan Starts Banking Earnings Season
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