Friday October 23rd


US futures extend gains on China interest rate cut

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Friday following a strong showing from three tech titans in their third quarter earnings and a dovish message from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Thursday. Futures also extended gains after the People's Bank of China cut its benchmark interest rates. Dow futures gained about 150 points, while Nasdaq futures implied an open of over 2 percent. More major earnings before the bell included Procter & Gamble, American Airlines, VF Corp. Procter posted better-than-expected earnings per share, but its revenue fell short of forecasts. American Airlines also beat on earnings per share, and its revenue came in line with expectations. VF Corp. beat on both the top and bottom lines. Markit flash manufacturing PMI at 9:45 a.m. ET is the only U.S. data Friday morning. Positive earnings from Alphabet, Amazon and Microsoft, along with expectations of further easing from the ECB helped stocks to close sharply higher Thursday. Alphabet, parent of Google, reported better-than-expected profits for the third quarter and announced a buyback. Its stock surged more than 9 percent in after-hours trading. reported a surprise profit on stronger sales, and its stock jumped 11 percent. Microsoft also rallied more than 7 percent after reporting a surprise bump in profits and revenues. ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank's 1 trillion euro bond-buying program policy would need to be "re-examined" in December. This was widely seen as an indication that the bank's quantitative easing (QE) plan will either be expanded or extended beyond its original September 2016 deadline. Draghi hints at further stimulus for December. "Based on Draghi's comments and assessment of the economic and inflation outlook, it seems almost inconceivable that the ECB will not loosen monetary policy in some way at the next interest rate meeting," said lead euro zone economist at Oxford Economics, Ben May. The euro tumbled against the dollar after Draghi said the ECB was open to a "whole menu" of policy instruments and traded around $1.11 early Friday. European stocks traded higher Friday after Draghi's comments, with most major indexes rallying over 1 percent. Asian shares were also buoyed by the news, with Japan's Nikkei 225 index surging over 2 percent, while the key Shanghai Composite index widened gains to close up 1.3 percent in late-day trading. Oil prices rose on Friday, finding support from brighter economic data and a global stock market rally after the European Central Bank signalled more stimulus. The positive tone offset persistent concerns over a glut in global crude oil and refined product supplies that have battered the energy market for over a year. Benchmark Brent crude oil was 32 cents higher at $48.40 a barrel after settling up 23 cents in the previous session. U.S. crude for December was up 19 cents at $45.56 a barrel, having risen 18 cents on Thursday. Earlier, crude prices pared gains but recovered them after the Chinese central bank cut benchmark interest rates for the sixth time since November. Gold prices rebounded from their lowest in more than a week on Friday as the dollar eased, but renewed expectations for a U.S. rate rise threatened to snap a streak of two straight weekly gains. Spot gold rose 1 percent to $1,178.26 an ounce. It fell as low as $1,162.50 in the previous session, its weakest level since Oct. 13.