U.S. equity futures edged lower Tuesday, as several major markets around the world remain closed for traditional holidays, with investors adopting a cautious stance to global equities amid rising commodity prices and the spectre of increasing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.
Britain's FTSE 100 added around 34 points, or 0.38%, by late morning in London, supported in part by a weaker pound sterling, which fell to 1.3689 against the U.S. dollar, the lowest since early January, after weaker-than-expected GDP and inflation readings last week poured water on Bank of England rate hike prospects. BP Plc (BP) was the notable early market mover in London trading, rising 0.88% to 542 pence each after the oil major reported a stronger-than-expected first quarter 71% surge in its bottom line thanks to a 25% surge in oil prices from the same period last year.
All of the major European markets will remain closed for the traditional 'May Day' holiday, while several key exchanges in Asia, including Japan's TSE, were closed as part of the annual 'Golden Week' observances around the region.
Delegation heading to China to begin talks on the Massive Trade Deficit that has been created with our Country. Very much like North Korea, this should have been fixed years ago, not now. Same with other countries and NAFTA...but it will all get done. Great Potential for USA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2018
Market sentiment was also supported by news that U.S. President Donald Trump postponed the imposition of steel tariffs on imports from Canada, the European Union and Mexico until June 1, and reached permanent agreements on exemptions with Argentina, Australia and Brazil.
Early indications from U.S. equity futures suggest the Dow Jones Industrial Average
Another busy slate of earnings is expected to drive market direction Tuesday, with Action Alerts PLUS holding Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) second quarter release after the close of trading the undisputed highlight of the day's calendar. Analysts are expecting a bottom line of $2.69 a share on sales of $61.2 billion, with the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant shifting 53 million iPhones, 9 million iPads and 4 millions Macs over the three month period that ended in March.
Other companies reporting prior to the Apple release include Dow components Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE) as well as Under Armour Inc. (UAA) , Mondelez International Inc. (MDLZ) and Aetna Inc. (AET) . First-quarter numbers from Lowe's (LOW) , Humana (HUM) , Tesla (TSLA) , CBS (CBS) , DowDuPont (DWDP) , Kellogg (K) and Bershire Hathaway (BRK.B) will also follow later in the week.
Global oil prices held at three-and-a-half year highs in early London trading as investors worried that a press conference held last night by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he alleged to have documents proving the existence of an Iranian nuclear program, would sway U.S. President Donald Trump into re-imposing sanctions on the Gulf nation later this month, a move that analysts suggest could remove 500,000 barrels of oil from the market each day.
Brent crude futures contracts for June delivery, the global benchmark, were seen 5 cents higher from their New York close and changing hands at $74.69 each, while WTI contracts for the same month, which are more tightly-linked to U.S. gas prices, were little-changed at $68.57 a barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which benchmarks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, drifted back towards a year-to-date high overnight, trading at 92.22 in London dealing, following a firm -- but expected -- inflation reading in the U.S. yesterday that many analysts feel has cemented the case for three more rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which meets today in Washington, between now and the end of the year.
U.S. government bond markets, however, were little-changed in overnight trading, likely owing to market closures in Japan and elsewhere, with benchmark 10-year Treasury notes holding at 2.956%.