Wall St set for lower open after mixed earnings; jobs data in focus By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., January 29, 2024. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

By Ankika Biswas and Johann M Cherian

(Reuters) -Wall Street’s main indexes were poised for a lower open on Tuesday, as investors assessed mixed earnings from legacy names such as United Parcel Service (NYSE:) and General Motors (NYSE:) while bracing for a key jobs report for insights into the labor market health.

United Parcel Service, the world’s biggest package delivery company, slumped 6.8% in premarket trading after forecasting annual revenue below Street estimates. Peer FedEx (NYSE:) also lost 1.8%.

General Motors, on the other hand, jumped 7.4% after the automotive giant forecast upbeat earnings for 2024 and signaled more capital return to shareholders. Ford Motor (NYSE:) also gained 2.3%.

Pfizer (NYSE:) climbed 0.4% after the drugmaker reported a surprise quarterly profit.

With the U.S. Federal Reserve kicking off its two-day policy meeting during the day, all eyes will be now on the Labor Department’s JOLTS report at 10 a.m. ET, which is expected to show job openings fell to 8.750 million in December.

Investors will closely monitor the Fed’s policy decision on Wednesday for any clues on when the central bank could start interest-rate cuts. The Fed is widely expected to leave the key benchmark rate unchanged at 5.25% to 5.50%.

“One of the reasons we’re talking about rate cuts is if inflation is coming back down, then keeping rates too high could cause a recession,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer, Independent Advisor Alliance.

“It does seem like the Fed really believes they can get this soft landing and clearly the market believes so too. The only way they’re going to get it is if they cut rates enough to prevent the unemployment rate from spiking up.”

While the hopes of nearing rate cuts have supported a steep ascent in megacaps, quarterly company earnings will be key in rationalizing the rich valuations of the momentum stocks after Tesla (NASDAQ:) and Intel (NASDAQ:) disappointed investors with bleak forecasts last week.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:) will be detailing their reports after market close. While the impact of generative AI is expected to steer the best revenue growth in nearly two years for Microsoft, the effect is likely to be muted for Alphabet’s advertising business.

Alphabet dipped 0.3% and Microsoft climbed 0.6%.

Recent gains in megacaps and chip stocks have helped the benchmark notch several new records, including another intraday record of 4,929.31 points on Monday, following a double-digit rally seen in the final two months of 2023.

While BlackRock (NYSE:) raised its overall U.S. stocks view to “overweight” from “neutral” on Monday, Citigroup lowered its mid-2024 S&P 500 target to 4,800 points from 5,000 points, allowing for economic softening during the first half.

At 8:17 a.m. ET, were down 95 points, or 0.25%, were down 12 points, or 0.24%, and were down 43 points, or 0.24%.

Life sciences firm Danaher (NYSE:) slipped 1.7% on forecasting a low single-digit annual percentage decline in 2024 adjusted core revenue, while top U.S. refiner Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:) gained 2.1% on a quarterly profit beat.

Super Micro Computer (NASDAQ:) jumped 12.2%, after the server seller projected stronger-than-expected quarterly sales, and was set to extend its recent AI-fueled rally.

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