12:25pm: Goldman Sachs leads blue chip index
The Dow jumped 203 points, 0.6%, to 33,880 at midday, which would be a record high if it holds. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite slipped 26 points, 0.2%, to 13,970, while the S&P 500 was up 4 points to 4,145.
The small-cap focused Russell 2000 jumped 38 points, 1.7%, to 2,267.
“The strong outlook for the US economy laid out in this afternoon’s results has revived the rally in small cap stocks, as flows head back to the physical economy and some of the heat comes out of the recent revival in mega-cap tech names,” IG Chief Market Analyst Chief Beauchamp wrote. “It is still very early days of course, but markets have navigated the initial challenge of earnings season relatively well.”
Leading the industrials is The Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), which easily beat analysts earnings and revnue expectations before the bell with record first-quarter net profits and revenues, according to CNBC. Shares rose more than 3% to $339.33.
9:35am: Indices off to mixed start
The main indices on Wall Street had moved very little in either direction on Wednesday as traders digested the start of earnings season in combination with ongoing worries over the status of the COVID-19 vaccine effort.
In the first minutes of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up just 0.05% at 33,692, while the S&P 500 was down 0.07% at 4,138 and the Nasdaq fell 0.05% to 13,987.
Given the mixture of sentiment, with vaccine issues seemingly offsetting strong earnings from a number of major banks pre-open, investors seem content to mostly sit on their hands.
8:00am: Wall Street to start on a mixed note
Wall Street is set for another mixed start after Tuesday’s mixed performance.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is set for another dip at the open, with futures showing a 13 point or 0.06% slip to 33,664. But the S&P 500 is forecast to add to its record level of Tuesday with a 0.08% gain and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is expected to rise 0.28%.
Investors continue to be concerned about possible problems with the vaccine rollout after the Johnson and Johnson news of minor blood clot incidents with its jab.
But the hefty reporting season has got off to a good start with better than expected results from Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.
Sophie Griffiths, market analyst at Oanda, said: “[Bank] earnings come against a backdrop of rising expectations for a strong US economic recovery, optimism which has already driven the rally in banks’ share price to outperform the broader market two-fold. The narrative has changed from last year’s if-and-when the recovery takes hold, to the current question of how long will the expansion run?”
Later comes the Beige Book, the latest report on US economic conditions from the Federal Reserve. Investors have been keen to know the Fed’s response to rising bond yields amid fears of inflationary pressures, but so far the central bank has shrugged them off. Fed chair Jerome Powell is set to give a speech later on Wednesday so it will no doubt be scrutinised for further signs of his view on inflation.
And also coming up is the direct listing of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase on the Nasdaq, which will be widely watched for what it might indicate about Bitcoin and its ilk.
Four things to watch for on Wednesday:
- Earnings season gets underway on Wednesday, with earnings coming in from major banks including JP Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM), Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS)
- JP Morgan has already reported its figures, notching up a surge in net profits, so its shares will be in focus at the opening bell
- Meanwhile, Goldman has also beaten forecasts with a similar earnings jump
- New Residential Investment Corp (NYSE:NRZ) will also be in focus after striking a deal to acquire Caliber Home Loans Inc for US$1.68bn
Story by ProactiveInvestors
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