U.S. Indices Edge Higher, Wuhan Virus Spreads, Earnings Season Hits Peak

The rebound continues as earnings from Apple, McDonald’s and other S&P components top expectations.
Thomas Hughes

The U.S. Futures Are Up In Early Trading

The U.S. futures are indicating a higher open for the major indices on Wednesday. The moves are small and led by the NASDAQ Composite. The tech-heavy index is up about 0.50% after reports from Apple smashed expectations. The S&P 500 and blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average are both up about 0.40%.

Apple blew past analysts consensus estimates for revenue and earnings as strength in core segments manifests itself. Sales of iPhones topped expectations bit it was strength in wearables that caught investor attention. Wearables are now about one-third of revenue making the company more diversified and better suited to weather storms.

Shares of McDonald’s are volatile in early action. The stock was first up on news it beat revenue expectations on better than expected comp-store sales. Later in the early premarket session shares reversed the gains to show a loss because rising costs cut into profits. So far, about 25% of the S&P 500 has reported and 73% of those have beaten consensus.

Traders are on alert for the next FOMC statement. The FOMC meeting begins today and will result in a policy statement tomorrow afternoon. There is little expectation for a policy change but there is a press conference. Traders will be listening carefully for hints about future policy changes and the ongoing repo program.

European Stocks Edge Higher

European markets are edging higher at midday. The CAC is in the lead with a gain of 0.45% while the DAX and FTSE trail. The FTSE is up a mere 0.10% with the Brexit only two days away. In stock news, basic resources are leading today’s action with an average advance of 1.25%.

Shares of Quilter are at the top of the rankings with an advance of 6.6%. The money manager reported a 17% YOY increase in funds under management. Tenemos is also moving higher. The software company announced a partnership with Google Cloud and shares advanced 5.25%. Santander reported better than expected earnings and saw its shares rise 4.6%.

Asia Markets Mixed, Hong Kong Reopens After Holiday

Asian markets are mixed after the Wednesday session. The Hong Kong Hang Seng is the only index to decline and it was a significant -2.82%. Other indices continue to rebound from losses posted on Monday. The Nikkie advanced 0.71% while the ASX and Kospi posted slightly smaller gains. Markets in mainland China remain closed for the Lunar New Year Holiday. There are now more than 6,000 cases of Wuhan Virus in China with 132 dead, more than the SARS epidemic.

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