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The Wednesday Market Minute

  • Global stocks edge higher, following last night's record closes on Wall Street, as investors regroup for another wave of earnings on Wall Street.
  • A muted outlook from chipmaker Texas Instruments holds down tech stocks in Asia, while concerns over a pause in stimulus from Beijing clips markets for a second consecutive session in China.
  • European auto stocks drift lower amid a profit outlook cut from Nissan, but tech stocks shine thanks to SAP's robust outlook.
  • Global oil prices ease after the IEA says markets have "comfortable" spare capacity to fill any supply gap from Iran sanctions, with Energy Department data on U.S. stockpiles reporting later today.
  • U.S. equity futures suggest modest declines on Wall Street ahead of earnings from Dow components Boeing, AT&T, Caterpillar and Visa, with Microsoft, Facebook and Tesla following after the close of trading later today.

Market Snapshot

Global stocks edged higher Tuesday, following record highs on Wall Street, as investors prepped for another wave of corporate profits that could cement the case for a much stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings season and further gains for domestic equity markets.

Several bluechip U.S. companies topped earnings expectations Tuesday, with many of the same names issuing improved profit guidance for the months ahead, helping lift the S&P 500 to an all-time closing high of 2,940.91 points as investors cheered both the strength of corporate America and the broader domestic economy.

That sentiment failed to bleed through into the Asia session, however, as chipmaker Texas Instruments (TXN - Get Report) cautioned after the bell that the much-anticipated second half revival in global semiconductor demand may be delayed until early 2020.

The guarded comments hit stocks in Asia, with Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest chipmaker, leading South Korea with a 2.1% decline and concerns over slowing stimulus in China clipping stocks in Shanghai for a second consecutive session. Japan's Nikkei 225 also ended the day 0.27 lower at 22,200.00 points following a downgraded profit forecast from Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY) .

U.S. stocks are also expected to open modestly higher, according to early equity futures prices, but much of the day's direction will depend on before-the-bell earnings from Dow components Boeing (BA - Get Report) , Caterpillar (CAT - Get Report) , AT&T (T - Get Report) and Visa (V - Get Report) , as well as big-ticket stocks such as Northrup Grumman (NOC - Get Report) .

Boeing is expected to report earnings of $3.19 a share on sales of $22.9 billion before the market opens Wednesday, Apr. 24, based on a FactSet survey of 18 analysts. In the same period a year ago, the company posted earnings of $3.64 a share on sales of $23.4 billion.

Tech giants Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) and Facebook (FB - Get Report) will report after the close of trading today, with clean energy carmaker Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) adding to the mix.

Prior to today's heavy earnings slate, contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a 32 point gain while those linked to the S&P 500 are guiding for 1.6 point addition for the broader benchmark. The Nasdaq Composite, which also closed at an all-time high of 8,120.82 points, is priced for an 10.5 point gain thanks in part to solid tech stock performance in Europe.

Snap Inc. (SNAP - Get Report) shares were indicated sharply higher Wednesday after the instant messaging group posted a narrower-than-expected first quarter loss as revenues bloomed amid a drive to improve the performance of its signature Snapchat app on Android platforms.

European stocks shook off a weaker start and rose to the highest since August, with the Stoxx 600 gaining 0.06% and Germany's DAX performance rising 0.57% and Britain's FTSE 100 slipping 0.32%.

Regional tech stocks, however, hit a near one-year high after Germany's SAP SE (SAP - Get Report) , however, surged 6.5% to a record high €103.90 each after the software group said it would expand its operating margin targets by at least 5 percentage points by 2023, a move that offset the Oracle (ORCL - Get Report) rival''s first quarter loss.

STMicroelectronics (STM - Get Report) was also on the move, rising 2.8% in Milan after it said it would cut costs to offset slowing global chip demand.

Broader market sentiment may also find support from the fact that both U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, as well as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, will return to Beijing next week to re-start talks on a trade deal that has remained elusive since the self-imposed March 2 deadline came and went without a major breakthrough.

White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington yesterday that he was "cautiously optimistic", noting the U.S. has come "further and deeper, broader, larger-scale than anything in the history of U.S.-China trade."

Government bond markets, too, are flashing signals that should support domestic stocks, with the spread between 2-year and 10-year note yields rising to 21 basis points, the largest gap of the year so far, thanks in part to strong demand for short-dated paper amid this week's $237 billion auction schedule from the Treasury.

The Atlanta Federal Reserve's GDPNow forecasting tool, a real-time tracker of economic performance, suggests a second quarter GDP growth rate of 2.8%.

Global oil prices eased modestly overnight, pulling U.S. crude from six month highs, following a statement from the International Energy Agency that suggested world markets were "adequately supplied" with "comfortable" levels of spare capacity to fill any gap that would result from sanctions on the sale of Iranian crude.

The U.S. Energy Department will publish data on domestic crude stocks later today, after a private reading from the American Petroleum Institute showed a larger-than-expected build of 6.9 million barrels over the week ending April 19.

Brent crude contracts for June delivery, the global benchmark for oil prices, were marked 3 cents lower from their Tuesday close in New York and changing hands at $74.48 per barrel while WTI contracts for the same month were seen 19 cents lower at $666.11 per barrel.