Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Jan. 23:
1. -- Stock Futures Rise Following Tuesday's Sharp Losses
U.S. stock futures rose on Wednesday, Jan. 23, while global stocks edged mostly lower with investors focused on the fate of U.S.-China trade talks and further signals of a slowing global economy that have blunted sentiment in equity markets around the world.
Japan on Wednesday reported the biggest slump in exports in at least two years as sales to China, its most important trading partner, fell 7% in December. That was followed by a cut in inflation forecasts for the Bank of Japan and a pledge to keep 10-year bond rates at zero percent in order to stoke consumer prices and prevent the world's third-largest economy from tipping into recession.
The global slowdown, which was articulated by cuts to growth forecasts from the International Monetary Fund earlier this week, was paired with reports of stalled progress in trade talks between Washington and Beijing. White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow suggested discussions were getting bogged down by China's resistance to tackle structural reforms and address issues such as intellectual property theft.
Kudlow denied reports, however, of cancelled talks between the two sides, comments that gave some late-hour support to trading in New York on Tuesday and stabilized markets overnight in Asia.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 160 points on Wednesday, futures for the S&P 500 rose 11.75 points, and Nasdaq futures gained 32.25 points. The Dow sank 1.2% on Tuesday, the S&P 500 fell 1.42% and the Nasdaq slumped 1.91%.
The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the FHFA House Price Index for November at 9 a.m. ET, and the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index for January at 10 a.m.
2. -- IBM Jumps as Earnings and Guidance Top Estimates
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) jumped 7% in premarket trading Wednesday after the giant technology company posted adjusted fourth-quarter earnings that beat estimates and its outlook for the year also came in higher than forecasts.
IBM said adjusted profit for the fourth quarter was $4.87 a share, beating Wall Street forecasts of $4.82. Revenue fell to $21.76 billion in the quarter from $22.54 billion a year earlier but still managed to top forecasts of $21.73 billion.
The company said Tuesday it expects adjusted earnings of "at least $13.90" a share, above forecasts of $13.80, but said that figure won't include the impact of its $34 billion takeover of software company Red Hat Inc. (RHT) last October, a deal that is expected to close in the second half of 2019. IBM also guided for free cash flow in 2019 of roughly $12 billion, which is below consensus of $13 billion.
"In 2018 we returned to full-year revenue growth, reflecting growing demand for our services and leadership solutions in hybrid cloud, AI, analytics and security," said Ginni Rometty, IBM's chairman, president and CEO. "Major clients worldwide, such as BNP Paribas, are turning to the IBM Cloud and our unmatched industry expertise to transform their businesses and drive innovation."
Fourth-quarter sales at IBM's largest business segment, Technology Services and Cloud Platforms, was $8.9 billion, below expectations of $9.04 billion.
- IBM Jumps After Q4 Earnings, Cloud-Focused Outlook Following $34B Red Hat Deal
- IBM Gains After Beating Estimates: 6 Key Takeaways
3. -- Procter & Gamble, Ford, Comcast Report Earnings Wednesday
Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) posted modestly stronger-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings and boosted its full-year sales guidance. The stock rose 2.9%.
Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) earned 64 cents a share on an adjusted basis in the fourth quarter, 2 cents above estimates. The media giant also boosted its dividend by around 10%.
United Technologies Corp. (UTX) rose 4.3% in premarket trading after the industrial company posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.95 a share, smashing estimates of $1.55, as sales in the period jumped 15% and it issued a strong forecast for 2019.
4. -- Oracle Accused of Underpaying Women and Minorities
U.S. government regulators have accused software maker Oracle Corp. (ORCL) of engaging in discriminatory practices that resulted in thousands of its women, black and Asian employees being underpaid by more than $400 million.
The allegations emerged Tuesday in a filing made in a two-year-old case that is being pursued by a part of the U.S. Labor Department that examines the pay practices of government contractors, the Associated Press reported. The agency estimated Oracle has government contracts worth about $100 million annually.
The filing cited evidence that Oracle underpaid women and ethnic minorities for similar work done by white men by as much 25%. The alleged practices affected more than 5,000 women, more than 11,000 Asians and fewer than 30 blacks from 2013 through 2016, according to the Associated Press.
Oracle declined to comment for the AP.
5. -- Mariano Rivera Is Hall of Fame's First Unanimous SelectionMariano Rivera was named to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, baseball's first unanimous Hall of Fame selection.
The relief pitcher, who is baseball's career saves leader with 652, received all 425 votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced. He won five World Series over 19 seasons with the New York Yankees.
Rivera was elected to the Hall of Fame along with Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina.
"Beyond my imagination," Rivera said.