Stock Futures Flat Amid Mixed Earnings


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U.S. stock-index futures wavered on Tuesday as traders mulled earnings from three high-profile companies and eyed progress in Washington, D.C.

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As of 8:07 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 4 points to 15229, S&P 500 futures fell 1.5 points to 1703 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 3.3 points to 3251.

Traders had information to parse through on two front Tuesday: corporate American and political America.

Citigroup (NYSE:C) posted adjusted third-quarter earnings of $1.02 a share, missing estimates by two cents. Adjusted revenues of $18.2 billion also came in shy of expectations of $18.6 billion. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) unveiled adjusted third-quarter earnings of $1.36 a share, topping estimates by four cents. Revenues of $17.6 billion also beat forecasts of $17.4 billion. Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) revealed adjusted third-quarter profits of 53 cents a share on sales of $12.03 billion, matching Wall Street’s estimates.

In Washington, D.C., traders grew more hopeful that lawmakers would strike an agreement to raise the debt ceiling before the October 17 deadline the Treasury Department imposed.

"The dark clouds that were hanging over Washington are starting to pass as negotiations between the Democrats and Republicans improve," David Madden, a market analyst at IG in London, wrote in an email. "The fear of a US default has left some investors paralysed, but the progress that has been made could pave the way for a deal and that sentiment is driving stocks higher."

Still, analysts at Potomac Research Group warned in a note to clients that legislation could run into two major hurdles. First, since a bill is likely to originate in the Senate, it could face up to two filibuster attempts. Second, a more worrisome, according to PRG, is the high chance the bill will face stiff resistance by Republicans in the House of Representatives.

On the economic front, the New York Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index fell in October to 1.52, widely missing estimates the gauge would rise to 7 from 6.29 in September. Readings above 0 point to expansion in the New York manufacturing sector, while those below indicate contraction. The reading is the lowest since May.

In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures dipped 91 cents, or 0.89%, to $101.49 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell 0.4% to $2.656 a gallon. Gold tumbled $15, or 1.2%, to $1,262 a troy ounce.

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