Stock Futures Flat as Weak JPMorgan Results Offset China Stimulus Boost

Brendan McDermid/File Photo/Reuters

U.S. stock futures pointed to a flat start on Tuesday, with an early boost from hopes of more Chinese stimulus for the economy fading following poor results from JPMorgan.

JPMorgan Chase & Co fell 2.1 percent in premarket trading after the biggest U.S. lender by assets reported a lower-than-expected rise in quarterly profit and revenue, hurt by weakness in bond trading.

Wells Fargo & Co, due to report results later in the morning, slipped 0.9 percent.

UnitedHealth Group kicked off the earnings season for health insurers, reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped mainly by growth in its services business. Shares of the company, however, were little changed.

At 7:16 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 0.03 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.09 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 0.34 percent.

Futures were up more than half a percent after Chinese officials came out in force hinting at more stimulus in the near term for their slowing economy especially after surprising contractions in China’s December trade and factory activity.

Providing some relief over the trade front, U.S. President Trump said on Monday he thought a trade deal with China was possible.

Concerns about the impact of trade war on global growth along with rising interest rates have taken a toll on fourth-quarter corporate profit expectations.

Analysts now expect S&P 500 earnings to grow 14.3 percent in the fourth quarter, much lower than the 20.1 percent growth forecast in October, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Despite declines in the past two days, the benchmark S&P 500 remains nearly 10 percent higher from its December lows. The index is about 14 percent away from its September record close.

Investors will keep an eye on the outcome of the vote on British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, a decision which will define Britain’s departure from the European Union and set the course for the country’s economy.

Voting is expected to start at about 2:00 p.m. ET.

(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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