Stock futures trade cautiously as earnings parade continues

Investors will be watching more financial earnings as well as producer prices

U.S. equity futures are bouncing between gains and losses ahead of the Wednesday trading session.

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The major futures indexes are suggesting a flat open.

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A number of financial names will be reporting quarterly results including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Several companies kicked the earnings season off on Tuesday with better-than-expected reports. JPMorgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, Citigroup and BlackRock all reported stronger results for the summer than analysts had forecast.

Investors will also get the latest reading on wholesale inflation. September producer prices are expected to increase 0.2% according to Refinitiv forecasts, just below the 0.3% rise in August. Year-over-year, prices paid by wholesalers are also expected to increase the same 0.2% .

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Shares were mixed in Asia on Wednesday after pandemic concerns snapped a four-day winning streak on Wall Street.

Japan's Nikkei 225 erased early losses to gain 0.1%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.1% and China's Shanghai Composite shed 0.6%.

In Europe, London's FTSE slipped 0.1%, Germany's DAX declined 0.1% and France's CAC was off 0.2%.

Rising coronavirus counts in many countries are raising the urgency to develop vaccines and treatments and setbacks in that process tend to discourage investors.

On Tuesday, independent monitors paused enrollment in a study testing the COVID-19 antiviral drug remdesivir plus an experimental antibody therapy being developed by Eli Lilly. The company said the study was paused “out of an abundance of caution.” The news followed a disclosure late Monday by Johnson & Johnson, which said it had to temporarily pause a late-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine “due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.”

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 lost 0.6%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.6% and the Nasdaq composite gave up an early gain, slipping 0.1%.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES28195.99-14.83-0.05%
SP500S&P 5003433.72-1.84-0.05%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX11442.930775-41.76-0.36%

The International Monetary Fund, in its latest update, forecast a steep fall in international growth this year as the global economy struggles to recover from the pandemic-induced recession, its worst collapse in nearly a century.

The IMF said Tuesday it expects the global economy to shrink 4.4% in 2020. That would be the worst annual plunge since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The world economy contracted by a far smaller 0.1% after the devastating 2008 financial crisis.

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Meanwhile, another heavy dose of stimulus for the U.S. economy is looking increasingly unlikely.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he’s scheduling a vote on a scaled-back GOP coronavirus relief bill for Oct. 19. Democrats filibustered a GOP-drafted aid bill last month and recent talks on a larger deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., fell apart this past weekend.

In a letter to colleagues Tuesday, Pelosi called the White House’s latest proposal insufficient and said significant changes are needed.

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Benchmark U.S. crude oil declined 31 cents to $39.90 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 77 cents to $40.20 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, slipped 25 cents to $42.21.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.