October 19, 2018 / 11:37 AM / a month ago

US STOCKS-P&G, Honeywell soothe Wall St after sell-off

* Futures up: Dow 0.20 pct, S&P 0.15 pct, Nasdaq 0.35 pct

By Medha Singh

Oct 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures ticked higher on Friday as a handful of major U.S. corporations beat results forecasts, offsetting concerns about political and growth risks in Europe, China and Saudi Arabia that drove a 1 percent fall a day earlier.

Consumer goods bellwether Proctor & Gamble beat estimates for third quarter revenue, sending its shares up 2 percent while industrial conglomerate Honeywell saw the boom in ecommerce drive bumper sales of warehouse machinery.

At 7:01 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 50 points, or 0.2 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.25 points, or 0.15 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 24.75 points, or 0.35 percent.

In a volatile week for stocks, any gains for the benchmark S&P 500 on Friday would snap a three week losing streak.

Trade in Europe on Friday, however, was again dominated by concern over Italy’s budget, with stocks falling and the Italian bond yields hitting four-year highs as the European Union called its draft budget an “unprecedented” breach of EU fiscal rules.

“While the indices point to a rebound we suspect the international news will overshadow earnings capping any strong rebound today,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“In other words, a possible extension of yesterday’s market is possible.”

Wall Street has had a rough ride over the past fortnight, suffering one of its worst two-day losses since 2015 on the back of concerns over rising interest rates, trade tariffs and their impact on global growth and demand for stocks.

U.S. corporate results, however, continue to show the benefit of the Republicans’ tax cut at the start of this year and a domestic economy that is still humming along strongly enough to keep the Federal Reserve raising rates.

Among other early gainers on Friday was Walt Disney shares, which rose 1.1 percent in premarket trading after Barclays upgraded its shares to “over weight”, saying its purchase of $71 billion of assets from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc may mark a turning point for the company.

PayPal climbed 6.5 percent after the payments company beat quarterly profit estimates, signing up more customers and raising volume of payments processed.

Honeywell’s beat on profit, however, followed a batch of disappointing results from industrial companies a day earlier which did little to soothe worries over the impact of tariffs, rising borrowing costs and wages on corporate profits.

U.S. stocks fell more than one percent on Thursday, weighed down by the European Commission’s warning to Italy and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s decision to pull out of an investor conference in Saudi Arabia.

Earnings growth for S&P 500 companies is expected to have increased by 22 percent in the third quarter, a slowdown from the first half. Of the 69 companies that have reported earnings so far, 78.3 percent have beat expectations.

On the economic calendar, the National Association of Realtors is expected to show existing home sales fell to 5.30 million units in September, compared with 5.34 million units in August. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru)

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