By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – U.S. stocks are seen opening lower Friday, as investors digest underwhelming earnings from some of the technology heavyweights while uncertainty over the presidential election prompts caution.
At 7:10 AM ET (1210 GMT), S&P 500 Futures traded 28 points, or 0.9%, lower, the Dow Futures contract fell 233 points, or 0.9%, while Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 121 points, or 1.1%.
The major cash indices are on pace to post their worst weekly performance in months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 5.9% week to date, on pace for its worst week since March 20. The S&P 500 has fallen 4.5% this week, headed for its worst week since June 12, while the Nasdaq Composite has dropped 3.1%, its worst week for over a month.
A number of the tech giants reported third-quarter earnings late Thursday, and although they largely reported solid earnings growth this was not enough to keep investors enamored with the stocks that have largely driven the strong overall market gains since March.
Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) both reported strong rises in advertising sales and some caution about the future, while Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone sales missed estimates. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) reported a record quarterly profit, but it also forecast a jump in costs related to Covid-19. Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) was the big loser, after reporting fewer new users than had been expected.
Earnings Friday come from oil majors Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX), as well as pharma AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), conglomerate Honeywell (NYSE:HON), cigarette-maker Altria Group (NYSE:MO) and Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL).
Confidence is fragile as the presidential election looms large. President Donald Trump has consistently trailed Democratic challenger Joe Biden in national polls, but surveys in the most competitive states have shown a closer race.
Given the heated nature of the political debate, there are concerns that the result of the election may not be willingly accepted by sections of the country. Walmart (NYSE:WMT) announced Thursday that it has removed guns and ammunition from display in thousands of its stores in the United States, citing concerns of “civil unrest”.
At the same time, the United States broke its single-day record for new coronavirus infections on Thursday, reporting over 90,000 new cases, as 21 states reported their highest daily number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients since the pandemic started, according to a Reuters tally.
Economic numbers include personal income and spending reports, at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT), while the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment number is due at 10 AM ET (1400 GMT).
Oil prices continued to weaken Friday, on track for a second consecutive monthly fall as traders worried about the effect the surge of coronavirus cases, and subsequent lockdowns, is having on global demand.
U.S. crude futures traded 0.4% lower at $36.03 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.7% to $38.01, falling to levels last seen in May.
Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.6% to $1,878.75/oz, while EUR/USD traded flat at 1.1674.