European Futures called to open higher this morning.
Stocks posted modest gains on Tuesday, following Monday’s sharp selloff, as investors’ attention turned to corporate earnings and the latest housing reports. “The market continues to focus more broadly on earnings, which so far this season have been mixed,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist with Avalon Partners. The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) added 65 points, or 0.5%, to 12,267. The S&P 500 (SPX) gained 7.5 points, or 0.6%, or 1,313; and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) added 10 points, or 0.4%, to 2,745. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, Fortune 500) was the top performer on the Dow, with shares rising more than 3.5%, after the company reported better-than-expected sales and earnings. Alcoa (AA, Fortune 500), Caterpillar (CAT, Fortune 500) and DuPont (DD, Fortune 500) were other big gainers. Traveler’s (TRV, Fortune 500) was the biggest drag on the blue-chip index, falling 1.4%. Shares of Harley Davidson (HOG, Fortune 500) sank nearly 5%, making it the S&P 500′s biggest loser on disappointing earnings, while the Nasdaq was weighed down by Seagate Technology (STX), which reported an 82% drop in quarterly profit. “The start of this earnings season has been one of the poorest in recent memory, but the market seems to be handling it pretty well,” said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist with D.S. Davidson & Co. Investors also focused on commodities, with oil climbing more than $108 a barrel, and gold striking $1,500 an ounce for the first time ever. Stocks logged their biggest decline in a month Monday, after investors were spooked by the outlook for U.S. debt getting slashed by Standard & Poor’s.
Asian stocks advanced for the first time in four days, the won rose the most in more than two months and commodities gained after companies from Intel Corp. (INTC) to South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. (051910) reported earnings and as U.S. and European data bolstered confidence in the economic recovery.
Events this Week
Wednesday — Technology investors will be eagerly awaiting results from Apple, which reports after Wednesday’s closing bell. Apple earnings are expected to jump to $5.35 a share, bolstered by sales of the Verizon iPhone and the iPad.
Other names to report on Wednesday include Dow components AT&T (T, Fortune 500), Travelers (TRV, Fortune 500) and United Technology (UTX, Fortune 500), metal and mining giant Freeport McMoRan (FCX, Fortune 500), chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM, Fortune 500) and Wells Fargo.
On economic data, Wall Street will get existing home sales from the National Association of Realtors at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists are looking for existing home sales to rise 5 million annualized units, according to Briefing.com
Thursday — The biggest name to report will be industrial conglomerate General Electric (GE, Fortune 500), which has been under pressure this past quarter due to the Japanese earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster. Analysts expect GE to report earnings of 28 cents a share.
Investors will also get earnings from asset managerBlackRock (BLK, Fortune 500), fast food giant McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500), investment bank Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500) and chemical company DuPont (DD, Fortune 500) among others.
For economic data, the Labor Department will release weekly jobless claims figures at 8:30 a.m. ET, with the Philadelphia Federal Reserve releasing its April activity index at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect weekly claims to fall to 390,000 from last week’s 412,000 claims while the Philly Fed survey is expected to drop to 32.9 from last month’s 43.4.
Friday — U.S. markets are closed. No major companies will report earnings and no economic data will be released.