Market Snapshot: U.S. stock futures step cautiously higher, setting investors up for fresh run at records

U.S. stock-index futures rose cautiously higher Friday morning, with the main benchmarks poised to post weekly gains as corporate quarterly results roll out and Wall Street weighed developments in Brexit and China trade talks.

How are major indexes faring?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMZ19, -0.09%  lost 13 points, or less than 0.1%, to reach 26,767, those for the S&P 500 index ESZ19, +0.03% added 2.05 points, or 0.1%, at 3,006.25, while Nasdaq-100 futures NQZ19, +0.07% were rising 0.1% at 7,938.25, a gain of 10 points.

On Thursday, the Dow DJIA, -0.11%  closed 28.42 points, or 0.11%, lower, at 26,805.53, with a decline in shares of Post-it maker 3M weighing on the index. The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.19%, meanwhile, gained 5.77 points to 3,010.29, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.81% added 66 points, or 0.81%, at 8,185.80.

For the week, the S&P 500 is on track to post a 0.8% weekly gain, the Nasdaq is poised for a 1.8% weekly rise while the Dow is set for a more modest 0.1% gain, as of Thursday’s close.

What’s driving the market?

Corporate earnings results remain the catalyst for the stock market this week, with earnings from Intel and Amazon.com front of mind. More than 38% of S&P 500 companies posted quarter earnings for the third quarter thus far, according to FactSet. Of those companies, 78% have beaten analyst expectations.

Investors also are closely following developments related to international trade and Britain’s exit from the European Union because they could impact the health of the global economy.

In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would seek a general election in Dec. 12 to break a Brexit deadlock, but it is uncertain if he can win Parliament’s support for the vote.

Johnson has been considering his next move since earlier in the week, as lawmakers blocked his attempt to fast-track an EU divorce bill, saying they needed more time to scrutinize the legislation, making it all but impossible for Britain to leave the EU before a an Oct. 31 deadline with a deal. A request for a delay until Jan. 31 was ordered.

Meanwhile, there is some doubt that a substantive Sino-American trade agreement can be achieved, particularly, after a speech on Thursday from Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, who implied negotiations toward a so-called phase-one agreement were going well but also criticized the second-largest economy on a number of fronts, including on intellectual property and human rights.

Looking ahead, investors await a reading from University of Michigan, which will issue the final results of its October consumer sentiment survey at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

Which stocks are in focus?

Verizon Communications Inc. VZ, -0.49% stock gained after an earnings beat. The telecommunications giant added new phone subscribers and net income attributable to Verizon was $5.19 billion, up from $4.92 billion a year earlier. Quarterly revenue edged up slightly to $32.9 billion from $32.6 billion a year ago. Shares rose 1.1% in premarket trade.

Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +1.06%  dropped 6% before the bell on Friday after the tech giant reported a 26% fall in profit late Thursday as it invested heavily to speed up shipping times.

Intel Corp. INTC, +0.99% shares rose 3.7% after the chip maker raised its outlook for the year on Thursday evening after it posted an increase in third-quarter earnings, sending its shares 4.1% higher before the opening bell.

Boeing Co.’s BA, +1.19% 737 MAX was blamed formally in the Lion Air fatal nose dive into the Java Sea nearly a year ago by Indonesia investigators. Shares declined 0.5%.

How are other markets performing?

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +0.22%  gave up early gains after Trade Minister Isshu Sugawara resigned after just a month on the job.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.49% fell 0.4%, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.48% slipped 0.2% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, +0.99% rose slightly.

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