Monday February 4th


Stock futures are flat, with Alphabet on tap to report earnings

U.S. stock index futures were little changed early Monday, as market participants awaited another batch of quarterly corporate results. At around 7:30 a.m. ET, stock futures were relatively flat across the board. Alphabet, Gilead Sciences and Seagate Technology are all expected to publish their latest figures after the bell. Earlier on Monday, Clorox reported better than expected earnings, sending its stock up more than 5 percent.  The moves in premarket trade come after a surge in optimism on Wall Street at the end of last week. A U.S. Labor Department report on Friday showed nonfarm payrolls jumped by 304,000 last month — the largest gain since February 2018. The jobs report, along with better-than-expected manufacturing figures, pointed to underlying strength in the world’s largest economy. On the data front, investors are likely to monitor U.S. factory orders figures for November at around 10 a.m. ET. Trading was subdued on Monday, with many regional markets in Asia closed for the Lunar New Year. China’s financial markets are closed all week, with South Korea’s index set to reopen on Thursday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which closed earlier at 12:00 p.m. HK/SIN today with the eve of the Lunar New Year holidays, edged up 0.21 percent to close at 27,990.21. Over in Japan, the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.46 percent to close at 20,883.77 while the Topix rose 1.07 percent to finish its trading day at 1,581.33. Oil prices gave up gains after hitting two-month highs on Monday, as economic slowdown and forecasts for weaker demand offset OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela’s petroleum industry. OPEC and its allies began a new round of supply cuts in January. These curbs, led by Saudi Arabia, have been compounded by involuntary losses that the Venezuelan sanctions could deepen. Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, hit $63.63 a barrel, the highest since Dec. 7, before turning negative. Brent slipped 39 cents, or about half a percent, to $62.37 around 8:45 a.m. ET (1345 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures hit a 2019 high of $55.75, its best intraday price since Nov. 21. WTI was last down 54 cents, or 1 percent, at $54.72. Gold prices slipped to their lowest in nearly a week on Monday as global stocks firmed on the back of upbeat economic data from the United States and a stronger dollar. Spot gold was down about 0.54 percent to $1,310.86 per ounce at 8:00 a.m. ET, having hit $1,326.30 on Thursday - its highest since April 26. U.S. gold futures fell 0.51 percent to $1,315.40 per ounce.