Stock futures fall, Fed leaves interest rates unchanged, Big Tech earnings, and more

U.S. stocks

Futures point to a lower start

U.S. stocks are expected to open in the red territory on Thursday after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged in a range of 0% to 0.25% and warned that the COVID-19 pandemic might hurt the modest economic recovery.

“The path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus,” Fed policymakers said in their post-meeting statement on Wednesday.

However, the policymakers pledged to keep purchasing $120bn of Treasury and mortgage bonds each month to encourage borrowing and spending.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a press briefing that rising number of coronavirus cases in the country, which have prompted several states to reimpose shutdowns, threaten the modest recovery from the pandemic. He urged Congress to take action to ease the pain for millions of Americans.

As of 5:40 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures indicated a loss of 190 points, or 0.72% to 26,250. The S&P 500 futures dropped 24.88 points, or 0.76% to 3,227.62 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures slumped 103.63 points, or 0.97% to 10,570.62.

Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Alphabet on deck

Meanwhile, four “big techs” are scheduled to report their quarterly results after the closing bell today: Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Google-owner Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG).

Analysts expect Apple to announce earnings of $2.04 per share $52.25bn in revenue, while Facebook is projected to post earnings of $1.39 per share on revenue of $17.4bn.

Amazon is seen reporting earnings of $1.46 per share on revenue of $81.53bn, while Alphabet is expected to have earned $8.21 per share on revenue of $37.37bn.

Other key earnings to watch today include Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS), and Ford Motor (NYSE: F).

Qualcomm rises on earnings beat and Huawei deal

In other news, shares in Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) soared in the pre-market trading session after the company announced better-than-anticipated fiscal Q3 earnings and a lucrative patent dispute settlement with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

Qualcomm reported revenue of $4.89bn late Wednesday, compared to expectations of $4.8bn. Profit came in at $845 million year-over-year, also ahead analysts’ expectations.

The chipmaker also said that it would receive a $1.8bn lump-sum payment from Huawei to cover previously unpaid licensing fees.

However, it warned that 5G handset shipments would decline 15% year-over-year in the current quarter, because of a customer delaying a “global 5G handset launch.” That is likely a reference to Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)’s widely expected 5G-compatibale iPhone.

As of this writing Qualcomm shares trading 11.78% higher to $93.03 apiece pre-market.