MARKET SNAPSHOT: Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet Set To Power Nasdaq Higher After Blowout Results

By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Merck, Exxon and Chevron due to report ahead of the bell

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Nasdaq-100 futures pushed higher after four major technology companies -- Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc. and Intel Corp. -- posted blowout financial results, which looked set to inspire gains for broader U.S. stock markets on Friday.

Investors will also be watching out for a reading on gross domestic product, which is expected to take a hit from powerful hurricanes during the third quarter.

What are stock-index futures doing?

Picking up speed, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 45 points, or 0.2%, to 23,395, while those for the S&P 500 index gained 6.5 points, or 0.3%, to 2,568.25. Meanwhile, Nasdaq-100 index futures advanced 25.72 points, or 0.4%, to 6,111.

U.S. stocks finished mostly higher on Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-steady-after-selloff-as-deluge-of-major-tech-earnings-await-2017-10-26) after a string of better-than-expected corporate results helped to whetted buying appetite. The Dow average rose 0.3% to 23,400.86, and the S&P 500 added 0.1% to 2,560.40. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.1% to 6,556.77.

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The Nasdaq was weighed down by weakness in the biotechnology sector (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/biotech-etfs-tumble-with-celgenes-stock-headlining-weakness-2017-10-26), with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) sliding 2.3%.

The Nasdaq has had a bruising week so far. With one more session left to go, the index is down just over 1%, though Friday's session could make a difference if those four tech giants rally. The Dow industrials is looking at a 0.3% gain, while the S&P 500 is set to decline 0.6%.

What could drive the markets?

The pace of earnings releases slows somewhat Friday. On the lineup are Merck & Co.(MRK), Colgate-Palmolive Co.(CL) , AbbView Inc.(ABBV) , Exxon Mobil Corp.(XOM) and Chevron Corp.(CVX) .

Late Thursday, four of the most valuable tech companies in the world -- Amazon (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-revenue-hits-a-record-and-calms-investors-fears-2017-10-26)(AMZN) , Google parent Alphabet (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-google-generated-a-few-extra-billion-dollars-2017-10-26) (GOOGL) , Microsoft (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/microsoft-shares-gain-on-better-than-expected-fiscal-first-quarter-earnings-2017-10-26)(MSFT) and Intel (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/intel-raises-outlook-as-profit-gains-2017-10-26)(INTC) -- blew past expectations for profit and revenue (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-google-microsoft-and-intel-find-billions-more-in-profit-2017-10-26) in their third-quarter reports.

Shares of those titans jumped in late trade and are expected to continue rising in premarket. Alphabet hit record price levels in after-hours trading, and could top a $700 billion market cap (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/alphabet-heads-for-700-billion-market-cap-after-earnings-2017-10-26) if those gains hold through Friday's regular session. Microsoft also hit record levels (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/microsoft-stock-hits-record-levels-after-earnings-2017-10-26)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-google-microsoft-and-intel-find-billions-more-in-profit-2017-10-26)Plus:Amazon revenue hits a record and calms investors' fears (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-revenue-hits-a-record-and-calms-investors-fears-2017-10-26)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-revenue-hits-a-record-and-calms-investors-fears-2017-10-26)Elsewhere, the first estimate of third-quarter GDP is due later, the last major piece of economic data before the Federal Reserve's policy-setting meeting next week.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are expected to have weighed on growth, though economists polled by MarketWatch expect 2.4% growth, from 3.1% in the second quarter. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

What are analysts saying?

"The Dow Jones (+21 points), the S&P 500 (+3 points) and Nasdaq futures (+13.50 points) gained in Asia as latest earnings showed that cloud computing generated massive revenues for the U.S. tech stocks and the business has clearly more to grow," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at LCG, in a note to clients.

"Even if we get a weak print , it should be temporary and it would not change our view that the U.S. is in the middle of an expansion," said analysts at Danske Bank, in reference to the GDP data, in a note to clients.

What are other markets doing?

The euro weakened after the European Central Bank decision to reduce and extend its monthly bond purchases.

Read:Draghi averts 'taper tantrum'-- for now -- as ECB takes baby step toward end of QE (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/draghi-averts-taper-tantrumfor-nowas-ecb-begins-slow-walk-to-normalization-2017-10-26)

Plus:'Like stealing away from a party through the backyard'--analysts react to ECB move (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/like-stealing-away-from-a-party-through-the-backyardanalysts-react-to-ecb-move-2017-10-26)

The dollar was rising across the board after the House of Representatives passed a budget resolution (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/house-narrowly-passes-budget-in-critical-step-for-republicans-tax-plan-2017-10-26) on Thursday, which was viewed as an encouraging sign for tax reform. The ICE Dollar Index was up 0.2% at 94.815.

And:Is the euro rally toast after ECB unveils dovish bond-buying cutback? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/is-the-euro-rally-toast-after-ecb-unveils-dovish-bond-buying-reduction-2017-10-26)

Oil prices were mostly flat, trading at $52.59 a barrel, while gold marginally softer at $1,267.90 an ounce. Other metals were lower.

Stocks in Asia mostly rallied (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asia-stocks-get-inspiration-from-us-earnings-reports-and-european-stimulus-news-2017-10-26), fueled by strong tech earnings out of the U.S. after the close. However, Australian stocks fell after judges ousted five lawmakers (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/five-australian-lawmakers-including-deputy-prime-minister-ousted-government-loses-majority-2017-10-27), including the country's deputy leader, over an obscure constitutional law.

What's on the data docket?

The GDP report will be followed by a reading on consumer sentiment for October at 10 a.m. Eastern.

There are no Federal Reserve members scheduled to speak, as the central bank is in its "blackout period" ahead of its policy-setting meeting next week.

See:MarketWatch's economic calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Mattel Inc.(MAT) could come under pressure, after tanking 20% in late trading Thursday. The toy maker posted a surprise loss for the quarter, on a sharp decline in sales for its American Girl dolls.

Read:American Girl dolls are dying, and taking Mattel with them (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mattel-shares-plunge-as-not-even-american-girl-is-safe-from-sales-decline-2017-10-26)

Deckers Inc.(DECK) may come under more pressure, after falling late Thursday. The footwear company has abandoned its plans for a sale after failing to find a potential bidder (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/shares-of-deckers-slide-after-footwear-company-abandons-sale-2017-10-26).

Gilead Sciences Inc.(GILD) shares fell 3.8% in late trading Thursday after earnings fell by less than expected (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gilead-revenue-falls-13-worst-yet-to-come-2017-10-26). But executives warned that the worst has yet to come for sales of its hepatitis C treatments.

Apple Inc.(AAPL) could be active. Estimates by two market-research firms said the iPhone 8 saw the weakest sales (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apparent-weakness-in-iphone-8-sales-turns-up-pressure-on-apple-as-iphone-x-preorders-kick-off-friday-2017-10-26) of any of the company's smartphones in recent years. Advance orders (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tech-earnings-the-new-gadgets-that-will-matter-this-holiday-season-2017-10-20) for the iPhone X began early Friday. Apple will report fourth-quarter results on Nov. 2.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 27, 2017 04:39 ET (08:39 GMT)