US stocks poised for losses as GDP, key earnings spur caution

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U.S. stock futures slipped Friday as investors assumed a cautious posture ahead of a reading of second-quarter U.S. economic growth and another raft on earnings.

Disappointment over Bank of Japan’s latest easing action also weighed on sentiment.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMU6, -0.22%  dropped 33 points, or 0.2%, to 18,343, while those for the S&P 500 index ESU6, -0.15%  fell 2.45 points, or 0.1%, to 2,161.25. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index NQU6, +0.08%  rose 4.75 points, or 0.1%, to 4,724.25, propelled higher by solid tech earnings.

Headed into July’s last trading day, the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.16%  and Dow industrials DJIA, -0.09%  were both looking at monthly gains of more than 3%. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.30% was set for an almost 7% rally for the month.

For the week, however, the Nasdaq was the only index poised for a gain, with the two other benchmarks looking at small losses.

“A moderate stimulus package from the Bank of Japan overnight got the final trading day of the week off to a disappointing start, leaving traders to look towards the large number of earnings and data releases today to pick them up again,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note.

Early trading was marked by the Bank of Japan, which fell short of the market’s hope for a raft of powerful stimulus to boost the country’s stubbornly low inflation. The BOJ fell short of expectations by making no changes to interest rates or to its bond-buying program. However, the central bank did, increase its purchase of exchange-traded funds to 6 trillion yen ($57 billion) annually from ¥3.3 trillion previously.

The yen USDJPY, -1.80%  rallied after the move, sending the dollar down to ¥103.58, from ¥105.27 late Thursday in New York. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index NIK, +0.56%  initially declined, but ended the day 0.6% higher.

The ICE dollar index DXY, -0.45%  fell 0.5% to 96.222.

Economic news: In the U.S., the focus will be on the first estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect a reading of 2.6% growth during the quarter, up from 1.1% in the first three months of the year.

The data are set to be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, alongside the employment cost index for the second quarter.

At 9:45 a.m. Eastern, the July purchasing managers index reading for Chicago is due, followed by data on consumer sentiment for July at 10 a.m. Eastern.

See: MarketWatch’s economic calendar

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Federal Reserve speakers: San Francisco Fed President John Williams will give a speech on “What’s left in the Fed’s toolkit?” at the 2016 Pacific Pension & Investment Institute Summer Research program in Boston, Mass., at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan is scheduled to speak at the Independent Bankers Association of New Mexico at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Full speed on earnings: Cigna Corp. CI, -1.55%  kicked off another busy day of corporate results, sliding 4.3% after the health care insurer significantly missed on earnings.

Merck & Co. Inc. MRK, -0.29%  climbed 1.7% following an earnings beat.

AbbVie Inc. ABBV, -0.28%  gained 1.5% after raising its full-year adjusted earnings outlook.

Xerox Corp.’s XRX, -0.90%  profit rose more than expected, but shares were flat premarket.

Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM, -0.78% fell 2.6% in premarket trade Friday, after the company’s second-quarter profit and revenue fell short of analyst estimates. Exxon said it had net income of $1.7 billion, or 41 cents a share, in the quarter, down from $4.19 billion, or $1.00 a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue fell to $57.7 billion from $74.1 billion.

United Parcel Service Inc. UPS, -0.06%  and Chevron Corp. CVX, -0.46%  are also due to report ahead of the bell.

Shares of Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, +0.51%  rose 4.5% before the open after the Google-parent late Thursday reported earnings and revenue well above Wall Street expectations.

Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +2.16%  also reported earnings that beat estimates late Thursday, sending shares 2.1% higher ahead of the bell.

Gains for tech majors Apple Inc. AAPL, +1.35%  and Facebook Inc. FB, +1.35%  helped the S&P 500 index and Nasdaq Composite notch modest gains on Thursday. The Dow average ended the day lower for a fourth straight session.

Shares of Western Digital Corp. WDC, +0.49%  fell 2.6% premarket after the computer storage company late Thursday swung to a loss in the latest quarter.

Expedia Inc. EXPE, +1.77%  slumped 6.5% after reporting earnings late Thursday.

Other markets: European markets SXXP, +0.40% marched higher, with banks leading the charge north ahead of stress-test results from the European Banking Authority, due after the market closes.

Oil slumped, with the U.S. benchmark CLU6, -1.22%  sliding into bear territory and losing its grip on the $41 handle.

Gold GCQ6, -0.02% inched 0.1% higher, while other metals dropped across the board.

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