Thursday October 15th


Futures higher as street eyes earnings

U.S. stock index futures indicated a higher open on Thursday, following a rise in global stocks on hopes that recent softness in U.S. economic data will push out a rate hike. Futures trimmed gains, with the Dow futures up about 50 points, amid the release of consumer inflation data and earnings from big banking names such as Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index traded more than 1 percent higher on Thursday. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei finished 1.15 percent higher, while in China the Shanghai Composite closed 2.32 percent higher. In economic news, September CPI declined 0.2 percent, matching expectations. Ex-food and energy, the price index rose 0.2 percent for the month, following a 0.1 percent rise in August. Weekly jobless claims came in at 255,000. The October Empire State Index posted a read of negative 11.36. The index showed negative 14.67 in September. Treasury yields edged higher, with the 10-year near 2.02 percent and the 2-year around 0.58 percent. The U.S. dollar added to gains against major world currencies, with the euro falling below $1.14 and the yen at 118.7 yen against the dollar. Earlier, Goldman Sachs reported earnings that missed on the top and bottom line as a decline in bond trading hurt profits. Citigroup earnings beat but revenue missed expectations and declined from the same period last year. Earnings season has started off with some weak corporate commentaries, despite the fact that most companies so far are beating on the bottom line. Wal-Mart's disappointing forecast Wednesday of a potential double-digit earnings decline in the coming fiscal year kicked a market already reacting to weaker-than-expected September retail sales, soft producer prices and flat business inventories. With earnings season well under way, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Philip Morris, Taiwan Semiconductor, UnitedHealth, US Bancorp, Blackstone, Charles Schwab and Winnebago were all expected before the bell. Schlumberger, Mattel, Western Alliance, People's United Financial and WD-40 are all due after the bell. Oil slipped more, nearing $49 per barrel on Thursday, staying weak after a jump in U.S. stockpiles shown in industry data the day before. Brent eased 19 cents to $49.96 a barrel by 6:57 a.m. EDT (1057 GMT). On Wednesday it hit a low of $48.71, the weakest since Oct. 5. U.S. crude fell 56 cents to $46.08 a barrel after settling down 2 cents at $46.64. Data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed U.S. crude stocks rose by 9.4 million barrels in the week to Oct. 9 to 465.96 million, versus analyst forecasts for a 2.8 million barrels build. The U.S. Energy Information Administration releases official government data on crude inventories at 11 a.m. (1500 GMT), one day behind schedule due to the Columbus Day holiday on Monday. Gold steadied on Thursday as a recovery in the dollar pulled the metal from the previous session's 3-1/2 month high, but remained supported by expectations that the Federal Reserve will hold off raising interest rates this year. The dollar rose 0.3 percent against the euro after posting hefty losses in the previous session, with the single currency slipping after European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny said that it was now "obvious" the bank must do more to stimulate the euro zone economy. Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,185.66 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up $8.40 an ounce at $1,188.40.