Friday April 29th


Futures lower amid earnings, data; Chevron weighs

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat to slightly lower open on Friday morning, following hefty losses on Thursday, as traders eyed earnings and data. Stocks closed about 1 percent lower or more in the previous session, as fresh declines in Apple weighed on the major averages. Apple closed down 3.08 percent, off session lows but following a more than 6 percent plunge Wednesday on disappointing earnings. Activist investor Carl Icahn told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Thursday afternoon that "we no longer have a position in Apple" while noting the firm is a "great company." Personal spending rose 0.1 percent in March, while personal income rose 0.4 percent. The Employment Cost Index, the broadest measure of labor costs, increased 0.6 percent after an unrevised 0.5 percent gain in the fourth quarter, the Labor Department said on Friday. The Fed's preferred inflation measure, the ex-food and energy personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, edged up 0.1 percent last month. In the 12 months through March, the core PCE rose 1.6 percent after advancing 1.7 percent in February. Chicago PMI is set to follow at 9:45 a.m. ET, with consumer sentiment due at 10:00 a.m. ET. On the earnings front Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Host Hotels, Monster Beverage and Seagate Technology are among companies set to report before the bell. Chevron posted a greater-than-expected loss of 39 cents a share, while revenue beat expectations at $23.55 billion. That marked a roughly 32 percent decline in sales from the comparable year-ago figure of $34.56 billion. Shares fell more than 1 percent in pre-market trade. Exxon Mobil reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analysts' expectations. Shares were up about half a percent in pre-market trade. The Federal Reserve could raise U.S. interest rates as soon as June or July if second-quarter economic data is strong, Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan said in a Reuters report Friday. In Asia, markets were mostly lower on the final trading day of the week, as investors digested major central banks' decisions to stand pat on their monetary policies. Japanese markets are closed on Friday for a public holiday. The Japanese benchmark index tumbled 3.61 percent in the previous session, while the yen strengthened rapidly, following the BOJ decision. The Nikkei 225 lost more than 5 percent for the week. Chinese mainland markets were mixed, with the Shanghai composite dropping 7.13 points, or 0.24 percent, at 2,938.45, while the Shenzhen composite finished nearly flat. In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 Index was down by around 1.3 percent on Friday morning following the weak session from the U.S. Brent crude reached fresh 2016 highs on Friday and was poised for its biggest monthly gain in seven years as a weak dollar and falling U.S. production tempered concerns about a lingering excess of physical oil. A looming rise in Middle East output capped gains, but investor sentiment held the optimism that has helped lift oil futures nearly 80 percent higher than January lows. Brent crude futures rose 12 cents to $48.26 a barrel by 8:20 a.m. ET (1220 GMT). U.S. crude was up 46 cents at $46.49 a barrel, with both contracts hitting fresh 2016 highs. Gold hit a seven-week peak on Friday and silver its highest since January last year as the Bank of Japan's decision the previous day to hold off expanding monetary stimulus weighed on stock markets and the dollar. The U.S. currency posted its biggest daily loss against the yen in more than five years after the BoJ decision, and fell another 0.3 percent against a currency basket on Friday. That lifted precious metals, which are priced in dollars. Spot gold was up 0.9 percent at $1,277.20 an ounce, having earlier peaked at $1,280.60. U.S. gold futures for June delivery were up $13.50 an ounce at $1,280. For the week, the metal is up 3.5 percent in what would be its biggest weekly rise since the week ended Feb. 12.