MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Reach For Higher Open, With Inflation And Big Bank Earnings In Focus

By Karen Friar, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Bank of America, Wells Fargo results on deck

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U.S. stock futures perked up Friday, shaping up to reclaim record levels, ahead of an update on inflation that could give investors a steer on the Federal Reserve's path for interest rates and the latest earnings from big banks.

Read:The S&P 500 is poised to make stock-market history--for doing almost nothing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sp-500-is-poised-to-make-uncanny-stock-market-historyfor-doing-almost-nothing-2017-10-12)

What are the main benchmarks doing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 13 points to 22,811. S&P 500 futures tacked on 1 point at 2,550.50. Nasdaq-100 futures edged up just over 3 points at 6,078.

All three indexes closed lower on Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-indicators-ease-from-record-highs-as-bank-earnings-arrive-2017-10-12), retreating from records set in the previous session. The Dow industrials ended down 0.1%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both lost 0.2%.

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For the week, gains appeared modest for all three benchmarks as of the close Thursday. The Dow industrials was headed for a 0.3% rise, while the S&P 500 teetered around a 0.1% increase. Both have risen for five straight weeks. The Nasdaq was looking at a gain of just about 2 points, but that would be enough to mark a third consecutively weekly win.

Thus far in 2017, the Dow has gained nearly 16%, the S&P is up 14%, and the Nasdaq has risen 22%.

See: Howard Gold on 5 things to do when every investment is too expensive (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/five-things-to-do-when-every-investment-is-too-expensive-2017-10-12)

What is driving markets?

Investors will get the next tranche of bank earnings in what is likely to be strong season of third-quarter corporate results (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/third-quarter-earnings-seen-as-an-easy-beat-could-set-up-more-stock-market-records-2017-10-09).

The Trump administration said late Thursday it will end billions of dollars in subsidies to insurers (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-to-halt-obamacare-subsidies-to-health-insurers-2017-10-13) under the Affordable Care Act program. The White House said the government can't lawfully make the payments as there is no appropriation for them.

Read:How to invest in health-care stocks regardless of what happens in Washington, D.C (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-to-invest-in-health-care-stocks-regardless-of-what-happens-in-washington-dc-2017-10-13).

On the data front, an update on inflation is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Economists polled by MarketWatch forecast consumer prices to have risen 0.6% in September, compared with 0.4% in August, with core CPI at 0.2%.

The inflation readings will be weighed for their likely impact on whether the Fed will raise interest rates in December (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-officials-disagree-on-need-for-interest-rate-hike-in-december-2017-10-12).

Data on retail sales for September are scheduled for release at the same time. A gain of 1.9% expected, perhaps bolstered by buying connected with hurricane preparation, according to analysts.

Reports on consumer sentiment in October and business inventories in August are due at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

Meanwhile, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans is due to give a speech on the economy at 10:25 a.m. Eastern Time, appearing at a financial literacy event in Green Bay, Wisc.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan is expected to take part in a moderated discussion (https://www.cfainstitute.org/learning/events/Pages/10122017_134634.aspx) at 11:30 a.m. Eastern, at the CFA Institute's 2017 fixed-income management conference in Boston.

Looking ahead, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen is scheduled to speak on the economy and monetary policy at a G-30 international banking seminar in Washington at 9 a.m. Eastern.

What are strategists saying?

"Today's U.S. CPI and retail sales figures will be the key event of the day, as investors wait to see whether the data aligns with the more dovish views of some Federal Open Market Committee members," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, in a note.

"And after JPMorgan and Citigroup beat estimates yesterday, we will wait to see if Bank of America can repeat the trick," he said.

Which stocks look like key movers?

Bank of America Corp(BAC) and Wells Fargo & Co.(WFC) are on the reporting docket before the bell.

Check out:Bank stocks are soaring, but now it's time to go for quality (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bank-stocks-are-soaring-but-now-its-time-to-go-for-quality-2017-10-10)

And see:Third-quarter earnings seen as 'an easy beat,' may bring more market records (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/third-quarter-earnings-seen-as-an-easy-beat-could-set-up-more-stock-market-records-2017-10-09)

Shares of Applied Optoelectronics Inc.(AAOI) fell 20% in premarket trade. The fiber-optic networking company warned investors (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/applied-optoelectronics-down-more-than-17-on-profit-revenue-warning-2017-10-12) about lower-than-expected third-quarter profit and revenue late Thursday.

Antares Pharma Inc.(ATRS) shares sank 33% before the bell, after the company's announcement Thursday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had found deficiencies in the drug Xyosted (testosterone enanthate) during its review process.

Monsanto Co.(MON) shares moved 1.7% higher premarket after Bayer AG said it has reached a $7 billion deal to sell parts of its crop-science business (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bayer-agrees-7-billion-sale-of-assets-to-basf-in-aid-of-monsanto-megadeal-2017-10-13) to rival BASF SE . The sale will partially refinance the German conglomerate's purchase of Monsanto and should help assuage regulator concerns over that megadeal. U.S.-listed shares of Bayer (BAYN.XE) and (BAS.XE) were inactive ahead of the bell.

What are other assets doing?

Bitcoin recently traded 5% higher at $5,702, after climbing as high as $5,856 earlier Friday, according to CoinDesk data. The cryptocurrency began setting new records (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-soars-to-a-new-all-time-high-above-5100-2017-10-12) after jumping on Thursday.

"It is remarkable how, despite the slew of negative news fired at bitcoin, it has remained extremely resilient. With prices already surging over 450% this year to above $5,300, further gains could be on the cards, as extremely bullish momentum encourages investors to speculate on even grander gains," said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM, in a note.

Check out:5 reasons bitcoin has roared to its highest level ever, defying Dimon's 'fraud' call (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-reasons-bitcoin-has-roared-to-its-highest-level-ever-defying-dimons-fraud-call-2017-10-12)

European stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dax-on-track-for-another-record-as-bayer-rises-on-deal-news-2017-10-13) were modestly higher, while most Asian markets closed with gains, with Japan's Nikkei benchmark rising 1%.

Gold futures slipped 50 cents (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-rises-tries-to-regain-grip-on-1300-level-2017-10-12), while oil futures climbed 1.5% to trade above $51 a barrel.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was down fractionally, after slipping 0.1% on Thursday.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 13, 2017 06:26 ET (10:26 GMT)