US stock index futures were mixed during Wednesday morning trading after major averages retreated from record highs and returned a five-day profit streak.
Futures contracts pegged to the Dow Jones Industrial Average hovered around breakeven while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures traded in slightly positive territory.
A variety of megacap tech companies reported quarterly results Tuesday after the market closed, including Apple, which beat sales and earnings estimates, saying iPhone sales were up 50% year-over-year. Google parent Alphabet also released quarterly results and recorded a 69% increase in advertising revenue, while Microsoft outperformed profits despite a decline in sales from its Windows division.
The week with the highest sales continues on Wednesday with Pfizer, McDonald’s, Qualcomm, Facebook, Ford and PayPal. Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported quarterly results to date, data from Refinitiv shows that 89% have exceeded earnings estimates, while 86% have exceeded sales expectations.
In Tuesday’s trading, the S&P was down 0.47% while the Dow was down 85.79 points, or 0.24%. At the daily lows, the 30-share benchmark lost more than 260 points. The Nasdaq Composite lost 1.21% for its worst daily performance since May 12th. All three major averages ended the session at record highs on Monday.
Despite Tuesday’s slump, major averages are still on track to end the month higher. The S&P was up 2.4% in July, while the Nasdaq Composite and Dow were up 1.1% and 1.6%, respectively.
“Although the Delta variant has the potential to trigger new volatility in the short term, we do not believe that it will pose a major threat to the bull market,” UBS wrote in a statement to clients. “Overall, we remain optimistic about the economic outlook.”
The Federal Reserve opened its two-day monetary policy meeting on Tuesday. The Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee will issue a statement on Wednesday, followed by comments from Chairman Jerome Powell during a press conference.
“We’re not expecting fireworks at this Fed meeting,” noted Lawrence Gillum, LPL’s fixed income finance strategist. “But we expect the committee to move on in discussing when and how to begin lifting the emergency monetary policy adjustments it has provided to markets.
The meeting follows comments from the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday that inflation could be more than temporary.
“We anticipate Jay Powell reiterating that the throttling discussion is ongoing, but it is too early to give a specific date to begin the initial asset purchases restriction,” added Danielle DiMartino Booth , CEO and Chief Strategist at Quill Intelligence.
“We expect Jay Powell to acknowledge persistent supply chain disruptions as the main driver of inflation, but we also expect him to highlight examples of certain sectors that have seen relief on the cost front, such as wood and iron ore,” she said.
Stocks in Asia were mostly lower when the Chinese government cracked down on the behavior of companies in the technology and education sectors.
“Risk sentiment is tense as pressure on Chinese stocks continues,” TD Securities wrote in a notice to clients. “This comes at an inopportune time as the markets digest the pervasive fear of growth,” added the company.
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