s&p futures news

s&p futures news

April 8th, 2015

U.S. stock-index futures were little changed before the Federal Reserve releases the minutes of its March meeting and as Alcoa Inc. unofficially kicks off earnings season.

Alcoa gained 1.6 percent before reporting its first-quarter results, due after the close of trading. Energy companies were little changed as a drop in oil prices offset news that Royal Dutch Shell Plc agreed to buy BG Group Plc for about $70 billion in the oil and gas industry’s biggest deal in at least a decade.

E-mini contracts on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in June added 0.1 percent to 2,069.5 at 8:45 a.m. in New York. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures advanced 13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,798.

“Earnings this evening will be closely examined for dollar-strength impact,” said Patrick Spencer, equities vice-chairman at Robert W. Baird & Co. in London. “The market will look for any indication of rate increase in the FOMC minutes. Earnings will be more important for the equity market than anything coming from FOMC today.”

Commodity Futures: Dollar Concern

Concern that tumbling oil prices and a surging dollar will hurt earnings has weighed on American equities. Profits for S&P 500 companies probably fell 5.8 percent in the first three months of the year, according to analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Earnings are also projected to slump in the next two quarters.

The dollar’s strength has already emerged as a threat to quarterly earnings. Pentair Plc slumped 4.1 percent after saying the surge in the greenback hurt sales.

Investors are looking to minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s last meeting, due at 2 p.m. in Washington, to shed light on the timing and subsequent pace of interest-rate increases. Fed Governor Jerome Powell said Wednesday that hidden slack in the labor market justifies a gradual approach to monetary policy tightening after an initial interest-rate increase, which he expects later this year.

Commodity Investing: Gradual Pace

“The unemployment rate probably understates the amount of slack remaining in the labor market,” Powell said, according to the text of a speech he is scheduled to deliver at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He said he saw a greater risk of damaging the economy with a premature rate increase than of triggering inflation by waiting too long.

Powell’s speech aligns him closely with Fed Chair Janet Yellen and New York Fed President William C. Dudley, who have said in recent days they expect the central bank to raise rates gradually in coming years.

A flurry of corporate deals lifted U.S. equities early yesterday before the index erased gains and ended 0.2 percent lower. The benchmark hasn’t posted three consecutive days of gains since Feb. 17.

Among other stocks moving on corporate news, Tesla Motors Inc. climbed 3.1 percent. The company is dropping the lowest-priced version of its Model S electric car, and its least expensive model will now be an all-wheel-drive version called the Model S 70D with a starting price around $75,000.

Apple Inc. slipped 0.3 percent after Societe Generale SA cut the stock’s rating to hold from buy.