Friday January 12th


Dow futures rise 90 points as bank earnings beat estimates

U.S. stocks futures posted sharp gains ahead of Friday's open, as Wall Street pored over strong quarterly results from major companies. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 90 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 3.75 points and 6.25 points, respectively. Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase reported better-than expected quarterly results. BlackRock also posted results that beat expectations. On Thursday, the Dow hit an all-time high, with the index rising more than 200 points by the close. The state of the U.S. economy and tax reform is set to be of key importance on Friday as major U.S. banks are set to report. Markets have been on the rise as of late, after President Donald Trump signed a bill in December to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Switching to data, retail sales rose 0.4 percent in December. The consumer price index rose 0.1 percent last month. Meantime, investors will keep a close eye on bond markets, after investors fretted over the risk of China halting its Treasury bond purchases. On Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that officials in Beijing had recommended that China's government lowers — or even potentially ceases — its buying of U.S. sovereign debt. However, China's currency regulator has since refuted the report. Major Asian markets clawed back slight gains on Friday after finishing slightly lower in the last session, with most major indexes in the region tracking the strong lead from Wall Street. Japan's Nikkei 225 edged down 0.24 percent, or 56.61 points, to close at 23,653.82. Meanwhile, South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.34 percent to close at 2,496.42. Greater China markets were mostly higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed 0.72 percent at 3:23 p.m. HK/SIN after rising for the 13th straight day on Thursday — a record winning streak for the benchmark. Mainland markets, meanwhile, were narrowly mixed: The Shanghai composite edged up 0.12 percent to close at 3,429.32 and the Shenzhen composite shed 0.22 percent to close at 1,948.93. Overseas, coalition party leaders in Germany have reached a breakthrough in talks to form a new government. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had entered into talks with a rival party in a last-ditch effort to form a coalition government. This comes after months of political uncertainty. Oil prices fell on Friday after hitting a three-year high over $70 a barrel the previous day, but remained on track to post a fourth straight week of gains. Brent crude futures traded 20 cents lower at $69.06 a barrel. The contract broke above $70 on Thursday for the first time since December 2014. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $63.34 a barrel, down 46 cents. WTI the day before rose to its strongest since late 2014 at $64.77. Gold prices rose for a third session on Friday to hit their highest since September, with a slump in the U.S. dollar helping drive bullion towards its fifth-straight weekly gain. Spot gold had edged up 0.5 percent to $1,328.84 an ounce by 0703 GMT, after earlier touching its highest since Sept. 15 at $1,330.34. The metal is up 0.7 percent so far this week and is set for its longest run of weekly gains since a streak that finished in the week ending April 14. U.S. gold futures were up 0.5 percent at $1,329 an ounce.