U.S. Futures Largely Flat; Banking Earnings in Focus

Investing.com – U.S. stocks are seen opening largely unchanged Wednesday, as the corporate earnings season kicks into full gear, with the focus on the key banking sector.

At 07:05 AM ET (1105 GMT), S&P 500 futures traded 2 points, or 0.1%, lower, the Dow futures contract rose 10 points, or 0.1%, while Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 15 points, or 0.1%. 

These cash indices closed lower Tuesday, ending a four-day win streak, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending 0.6% lower, the S&P 500 down 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite off 0.1%. However, they haven’t registered consecutive down days this month.

The banking sector, often seen as an important guage of the strength of the overall economy, will be in focus Wednesday, with third-quarter earnings from Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) all due. These follow above-estimate earnings from JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) in the previous session.

Outside of the major banks, there are also earnings due from the likes United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL), on the heels of Delta’s (NYSE:DAL) disappointing quarterly update, UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) and Alcoa (NYSE:AA).

Still, investors face a number of headwinds, with Covid-19 cases continuing to mount, vaccine trials facing difficulties and a new stimulus bill remaining something of a mirage. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday the Senate would vote next week on a targeted $500 billion coronavirus economic aid bill. This is extremely unlikely to pass through the House given it’s the type of deal Democrats have rejected in the past as not being enough.

Turning to economic data, September’s producer price index is the key release Wednesday. Core PPI, which excludes food and energy, is expected to rise 0.2% on the month, climbing at a slightly slower pace than the previous month. 

This would duplicate the pattern on consumer prices, which after several months of

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