Stock-index futures were flat to slightly lower Tuesday, pointing to a soft start for Wall Street a day after the S&P 500 index and Nasdaq Composite scored another round of records and as big banks kick off earnings reporting season.
What are major indexes doing?
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMH20, -0.02% were up 8 points, or less than 0.1%, at 28,879, while S&P 500 futures ESH20, -0.09% lost 2.2 points, or 0.1%, to trade at 3,287.50. Nasdaq-100 futures COMP, +1.04% lost 12.75 points, or 0.1%, to trade at 9,075.50.
The Dow DJIA, +0.29% on Tuesday rose 83.28 points, or 0.3%, to end at 28,907.05, 0.2% away from its record close of 28,956.90 set on Thursday. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.70% rose 22.78 points, or 0.7%, to finish at 3,288.13, while the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +1.04% closed at 9,273.93, a gain of 95.07 points, or 1%. Monday’s closing levels marked the third record of the new year for the S&P 500 and the fourth for the Nasdaq.
What’s driving the market?
Wall Street’s big banks were giving earnings season its unofficial kickoff Tuesday, with fourth-quarter results due ahead of the opening bell from JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM, +0.83%, Citigroup Inc. C, +1.77% and Wells Fargo & Co. WFC, -0.74%.
JPMorgan Chase was first out of the gate, reporting earnings that beat Wall Street forecasts. Shares of the Dow component were up 1.8% in premarket action.
Deep Dive: Big-bank earnings preview: The Fed’s policies cut both ways
Away from the banks, Delta Air Lines Inc. DAL, +0.42% shares jumped more than 5% in premarket action after topping profit and revenue expectations.
Analysts said the start of earnings season could take the spotlight away from U.S.-China trade issues ahead of the expected Wednesday signing of a so-called phase-one agreement. The U.S. Treasury late Monday lifted its designation of China as a currency manipulator. News reports that such a move was imminent helped buoy stocks during the session.
“Markets will be hunting for signs of apprehension over this reporting season with outlooks and sentiment more pressing given where we are valuations-wise,” said Bethel Loh, macro strategist at ThinkMarkets, in a note. “Even if we do catch some subpar results, simply issuing a positive outlook on forward guidance is all of the sugar hit markets need to be swayed to stay long.”
See: As investor optimism nears 2-year highs, analysts warn of stock-market pullback
China’s yuan has strengthened since late last year, taking back much of the ground lost in a late summer swoon, aided by increased optimism over trade policy as well as early signs the Chinese economy is stabilizing, economists said.
See: Why the Chinese yuan is in rebound mode versus the U.S. dollar
What’s on the economic calendar?
The National Federation of Independent Business said its small-business optimism index fell 2 points in December to 102.7.
The economic calendar features the U.S. December consumer-price index at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch, on average, look for the index to show a 0.3% rise, while the core reading, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, is expected to show a 0.2% rise.
New York Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams, a voting member of the Fed’s rate-setting panel, is scheduled to deliver a speech at the London School of Economics at 9 a.m. Eastern.
Kansas City Fed President Esther George, who isn’t a 2020 voter, is due to deliver a speech in Kansas City at 1 p.m. Eastern.