Futures down as IBM, Intel fall after results

Futures down as IBM, Intel fall after results

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.6 per cent lower at 30,996.98, while the broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.3 per cent to 3,841.47.

Six of the 11 S&P sectors advanced in early trading, with technology, communication services and consumer discretionary among the biggest gainers. Analysts said a lot of that optimism may have already been built into the stock's price. On Thursday, a report showed that 900,000 USA workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, as the worsening pandemic forces businesses to shut down and lay off employees.

Besides, as a renewed lockdown measure in major Chinese cities alongside a stiffer-than-anticipated pandemic restriction in the United States had been waning hopes of an economic reopening over the coming months, an IHS Markit's flash reading on U.S. factory activity PMI that skyrocketed to a 13-1/2-year peak in early-January, had failed to lift up investors' morale.

With the S&P 500 up another 2% this year and up 16% over the last 12 months, some investors believe the market may be getting ahead of itself as hiccups with the vaccine rollout and economic reopening remained likely going forward. The number was less bad than the prior week's 926,000, but it's still incredibly high. Mies added, regarding the decline in the virus and the reopening of the economy.

Joe Biden will take the oath of office to become US president later in the day, and he has a flurry of executive actions at the ready.

Other reports on the economy were more encouraging on Thursday, including better-than-expected data on the homebuilding industry and manufacturing in the Philadelphia region.

Dissent from either party carries weight for Biden, who took office with a slim majority in Congress.

More companies are also telling investors how badly their profits got hit during the last three months of 2020, when coronavirus counts and deaths were soaring. But most companies have been topping expectations.

Shares of International Business Machines fell 9.8% after the company reported a 4.6% decline in revenue in 2020 and pledged to return to revenue growth this year.

Homebuilders rose following the encouraging report on housing starts, led by Beazer Homes USA's 5.1 percent gain.

Yields on 10-year Italian government bonds rose to 0.724% from 0.687% Thursday. Low rates can help push up prices for stocks and other investments.

ECB President Christine Lagarde said at a press conference that she is "monitoring very carefully exchange rates", referring to the strength of the euro against its counterparts which can undercut the central bank's accommodative policies.

In European stock markets, France's CAC 40 fell 0.7%, and Germany's DAX lost 0.2%. The continent-wide Stoxx 600 fell 0.95% while the UK's FTSE 100 fell 0.53% after disappointing retail data highlighted the impact of the latest lockdowns. Meanwhile, prospects of greater fiscal aid under new President Joe Biden to tackle the economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic and better strategies under Biden for vaccinating Americans at a more rapid clip helped to prop up the markets.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.8 per cent to finish at 28,756.86.

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