August 1, 2019 / 12:02 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures edge higher as focus shifts from Fed to earnings

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* Futures up: Dow 0.17%, S&P 500 0.12%, Nasdaq 0.19%

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Aug 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures bounced on Thursday, a day after the S&P 500 and Dow saw their worst day since May, as focus shifted from the Federal Reserve’s cautious stance on further interest rate cuts to corporate earnings, which have been robust.

The U.S. central bank reduced borrowing costs by a widely-expected quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, but Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled a series of further cuts was unlikely, leading to a sharp selloff.

Despite that, all three major indexes posted their second straight monthly gains in July, closing the book on a month in which the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq reached fresh record highs.

“It was always going to be a tough job for the Fed to be as dovish as stock markets hoped. The 25 bps cut was a non-event,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, in a note.

“With the Fed out of the way there is a chance that we can all get back to focusing on earnings and how earnings season continues to paint a broadly positive picture.”

Almost three weeks through earnings, reports so far have been strong. Of the 296 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported second-quarter earnings, 74.7% have beaten Street estimates for profit, according to Refinitiv data.

Shares of Verizon Communications Inc rose 1.3% in premarket trading after wireless carrier beat second-quarter consensus estimates for additions of net new phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill.

At 7:20 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 46 points, or 0.17%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.5 points, or 0.12% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 15.25 points, or 0.19%.

Qualcomm Inc plunged 6.8% after the chipmaker’s quarterly revenue and profit forecast fell short of Wall Street targets, hurt by Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s strong gains in the Chinese smartphone market.

Fitbit Inc tumbled 17.4% after the wearable device maker cut its 2019 revenue forecast blaming disappointing sales of its newly launched cheapest smartwatch Versa Lite.

On the macro front, the Institute for Supply Management’s index of national factory activity, due at 10 a.m. EDT, will likely show a reading of 52.0 in July from 51.7 in June.

This will follow IHS Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Indexes final reading for the month July, due 9:45 a.m. EDT.

Factory activity contracted across Asia and Europe in July, fuelling worries a prolonged U.S.-China trade war and an economic slowdown could tilt the world towards recession, which central banks would have to fight with depleted ammunition.

Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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