Wall St. to rise at open with eyes on China, earnings

April 20, 2015 09:19 AM


U.S. stocks were set to open higher on Monday, following a sharp decline in the previous session, as Chinese steps to stimulate its slowing economy and earnings, including those from Morgan Stanley, lured money back into equities.

In the second industry-wide cut in two months, China's central bank on Sunday reduced the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves in a move to help spur bank lending and combat slowing growth.

Morgan Stanley shares rose 1.5% in premarket trading after the Wall Street investment bank reported a 60% rise in quarterly profit and raised its dividend by 50% to 15 cents per share.

Hasbro jumped 5.3% after the toymaker reported a surprise increase in revenue. Royal Caribbean fell 7.6% after it reported a 3.7% fall in revenue, saying a strong dollar hurt onboard spending by customers from outside the U.S.

The market is responding to earnings that are good but not good enough to push stocks to new records. Concerns remain about currency effects, Greece and China, said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

"These have kept the market very range bound and we just keep climbing, falling, and starting to climb back up again."

Nearly 75% of the Standard & Poor's 500 components that have reported earnings have beat analyst expectations, so far topping the 70% average in the last four quarters. However, just 45.8% have beat on revenue, compared to the 58% average top line beat over the last year.

"What's helped the market today is the story about more stimulus in China," said Meckler.

The downside, he said, is that the stimulus responds to a stubborn lack of growth.

Despite lackluster U.S. economic data, a world grappling with slow growth and concern that Greece and Ukraine could default on their debt, the U.S. stock market has been more than resilient. Even after Friday's selloff, major indices are less than 2% from all-time highs and volatility measurements have been close to their lowest levels for 2015.

Futures snapshot at 8:45 a.m. EDT (1245 GMT):

  • S&P 500 e-minis were up 10 points, or 0.48%, with 171,744 contracts changing hands.
  • Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 17 points, or 0.39%, in volume of 29,795 contracts.
  • Dow e-minis were up 103 points, or 0.58 %, with 28,844 contracts changing hands.


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