US pre-open: Futures point to lower opening as Swiss-driven losses extend

LONDON (ShareCast) – Stock futures pointed to a lower opening on Friday, as markets were left reeling by Thursday’s losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is expected to open approximately 67 points lower than Thursday’s close of 17,320.71, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are forecast to begin the final session of the week points eight and 30 points lower respectively.

The Swiss National Bank’s decision to scrap a three-year-old cap on the franc sent markets tumbling on Thursday and Swiss stocks continued to fall on Friday, while both euro and dollar gained some ground on the Swiss franc.

“As before the last two earnings seasons, US stocks markets have got very choppy as worries kick in that corporates are not able to overcome global market dislocations including falling commodity prices and the rising US dollar,” said Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets.

“The drop in December retail sales and diving copper prices have done nothing to ease investor concerns heading into the first major week of reporting.” In corporate news, the focus will be on Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB – news) which is forecast to report fourth-quarter earnings of $ 4.32 a share, while Charles Schwab is expected to post fourth-quarter earnings of 24 cents a share.

Having lost almost 4% on Thursday in the wake of disappointing fourth quarter earnings, Citigroup (NYSE: C – news) dropped a further 0.5% ahead of the bell.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch could also attract attention from investors, after reporting a substantial fall in profits on Thursday.

Intel (Swiss: INTC.SW – news) fell unexpectedly in pre-market trading, despite reporting fourth quarter earnings well above expectations with revenues rising over 6% year-on-year, while Google (Xetra: A0B7FY – news) rose slightly ahead of the bell, despite announcing it had stopped the trial sales of its Google Glass.

“The shelving of Google Glass won’t impact current revenues but is a disappointment for future growth prospects,” said Lawler.

Friday is a very busy day in terms of economic data, with a report on consumer prices for December, due at 08:30 ET, while industrial production and capacity utilization for the same month are published at 09:15 ET.

The last report of the day, consumer sentiment for January, is due at 09:55 ET Meanwhile, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard, not a voting member of the Fed policy committee this year, will speak on monetary policy and the economy in Chicago at 13:10 ET.

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