Stock Futures Inch Higher Ahead Of Earnings Deluge

U.S. stock futures inched higher on Monday, ahead of a flurry of earnings releases from prominent companies such as McDonald’s Corp. and Halliburton Co., and as investors prepared for a raft of delayed economic data due later in the week.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average  gained 21 points, or 0.1%, to 15,337, while those for the S&P 500 index  added 1.30 points, or 0.1%, to 1,737.80. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index  gained 6.75 points, or 0.2%, to 3,348.75.

“A cautious mood is generally the idea among traders today, as we are set to unravel the batch of the delayed U.S. economic data. The U.S. nonfarm-payroll data will kick start the economic engine tomorrow, and if there was no government shutdown, this economic data could have been the key factor in determining the tapering quiz for the Federal Reserve’s chairman, Ben Bernanke,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst Avatrade, in a note.

“Given that we have another U.S. nonfarm reading due for October in a few weeks, this nonfarm reading could carry not much other importance than a footnote. [And seeing] that we had a government shutdown for two weeks, the October nonfarm payroll data could very well be skewed as well,” he added.

The small gains for futures on Monday were a continuation of last week’s advances, when the S&P 500 index  continued its record run and posted its best weekly gain since mid-July, as investors welcomed quarterly results from Google Inc.  and Morgan Stanley .

Earnings were also among highlights on Monday, with the latest update from Dow component McDonald’s  on tap. The company is projected to report third-quarter earnings of $1.51 a share, according to a consensus survey by Thomson Reuters. Read: Earnings peak week to overshadow economic data


Additionally, Halliburton Co.  is likely to report third-quarter earnings of 82 cents a share, and Hasbro Inc.  is forecast to post earnings of $1.29 a share likewise.

Gannett Co.  is projected to post earnings of 41 cents a share in the third quarter, and VF Corp.  is likely to report earnings of $3.78 a share in the same period.

And after the closing bell, streaming-media provider Netflix Inc.  is expected to post earnings of 49 cents a share in the third quarter.

The data calendar was relatively light, with only existing-home sales the only major report to arrive Tuesday, at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect a reading of 5.3 million in September, down from 5.48 million in August.

Later in the week, however, investors should brace for a flurry of data releases as the reports delayed by the government shutdown will start to come out. On Tuesday, the highly anticipated nonfarm-payrolls report is due along with the unemployment rate.

In other financial markets, gold prices and the dollar moved higher, while oil prices slipped. Both European and Asian stock markets were mostly higher.

Source : Marketwatch