Stock futures edge higher after records for S&P 500, Nasdaq

Stock futures signal Wall Street set to take another shot at records as 2020 winds down

Stock-index futures edged higher Tuesday as investors sifted through a slew of high-profile corporate earnings a day after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite scored another round of all-time highs.

What are major benchmarks doing?
  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average

    rose 80 points, or 0.3%, to 30,948.

  • S&P 500 futures

    rose 5.10 points, or 0.1%, to 3,853.50.

  • Nasdaq-100 futures

    were up 4.25 points, or less than 0.1%, at 13,479.75.

The Dow

fell 0.1% Monday for its third straight daily decline, while the S&P 500
up 0.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite
up 0.7%, ended at records.

What’s driving the market?

Investors are wading through the busiest week of earnings season, with Tuesday set to bring reports ahead of the bell from a number of corporate heavyweights.

Revenue growth was likely to remain the “primary factor” when weighing results as investors cope with an environment marked by historically low yields and an economy constrained by deflationary factors, said Boris Schlossberg, managing director at BK Asset Management, in a note.

“A bevy of upside forecasts from management could help propel the indices to new all time highs. However if the general message suggests slowdowns ahead, the markets which are already trading at historically high valuations will be ripe for a correction,” he said, in a note.

In a closely followed wrinkle, shares of videogame-retailer GameStop Corp.

rose 15% in premarket trade, on track to add to a 300% gain so far this month attributed to a short squeeze amplified by a surge in options activity by individual investors.

See: As day traders make wild options bets in the stock market, some fear history is repeating itself

Investors continue to track negotiations around President Joe Biden’s push for $1.9 trillion in additional COVID-19 aid spending, which faces tough talks in a narrowly divided Senate as an impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump looms.

Biden on Monday appeared to boost his goal for COVID-19 vaccinations in his first 100 days in office, suggesting that the nation could soon be vaccinating 1.5 million people a day, on average.

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday kicks off a two-day policy meeting — its first of 2021. Policy makers weren’t expected to make any changes to policy, but were seen as likely to push back against ideas the central bank would be quick to begin easing up on asset purchases.

See: Think higher inflation is coming? The Fed will believe it when it sees it

The economic calendar features a pair of November readings on house prices at 9 a.m. Eastern — the FHFA house price index and the S&P Case-Shiller home price index.

A January reading of a consumer confidence index is due at 10 a.m.

Which companies are in focus?
  • Shares of General Electric Co.

    rose in premarket trade after the diversified industrial conglomerate reported a fourth-quarter profit that missed expectations but revenue and free cash flow that beat forecasts.

  • 3M Co.

    shares edged higher after the diversified industrial manufacturer and Post-it maker delivered better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.

  • Shares of drugmaker Johnson & Johnson

    were higher after reporting stronger-than-expected earnings and revenue and delivering an upbeat 2021 outlook.

  • Raytheon Technologies Corp.

    shares rose more than 2% after the aerospace and defense company reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations, while providing a mixed first-quarter outlook.

  • Shares of private-equity giant Apollo Global Management Inc.

    rose more than 4% after the company late Monday said Leon Black would step down as chief executive after an independent review showed larger-than-expected payments to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein that were nevertheless deemed to have been justified.

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