U.S. Stock Futures Rise On JP Morgan Earnings; Dow Futures Up 0.6%

Forex Pros – U.S. stock futures pointed to a broadly higher open on Wednesday, as market sentiment was boosted by better-than-expected earnings from banking giant JP Morgan-Chase.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed a gain of 0.6%, the S&P 500 futures climbed 0.8%, while Nasdaq 100 futures indicated an increase of 0.88%.

Shares in the second-largest U.S. lender JP Morgan-Chase jumped 2.5% in pre-market trade after it said first quarter net profit soared by 67%, as it set aside less money to cover bad loans. First quarter net income totaled USD5.6 billion, 41% higher from a year earlier.

The company also set plans to buy back USD8 billion in stock this year as part of a USD15 billion stock buyback program.

The upbeat results boosted shares in the financial sector, with Citigroup climbing 1.5%, Bank of America adding 1.2% and Morgan Stanley gaining 1.4%.

Consumer goods packager Silgan Holdings saw shares jump 7% after it agreed to acquire smaller rival Graham Packaging for approximately USD1.3 billion in an effort to expand its plastic packaging business. Shares in Graham surged 19.1% following the news.

Meanwhile, shares in Alcoa climbed 1.1%. The largest U.S. aluminium producer tumbled 6% on Tuesday after reporting disappointing earnings results.

Shares in the world’s largest maker of security systems Tyco International dropped 3.8% after French engineering group Schneider Electric denied that it was in takeover talks with the company. The stock had rallied over 7% on Tuesday following reports of a possible bid by Schneider.

Other stocks in focus include industrial conglomerate United Technologies, which holds its annual shareholders meeting today. Mining stocks could also be active after metal prices rebounded from the previous day’s sharp sell-off.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were broadly higher as Alcatel-Lucent surged after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock. The EURO STOXX 50 jumped 1%, France’s CAC 40 rose 1.15%, Germany’s DAX climbed 1.2%, while Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 1.15%.

During the Asian trading session, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index closed 0.9% higher as Japanese automakers advanced after Nomura Holdings upgraded the sector.

Earlier in the day, official government data showed that retail sales in the U.S. rose less-than-expected in March, while core retail sales rose broadly in line with expectations. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve was to publish its Beige Book later in the day.


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