U.S. stocks set for flat open as traders digest earnings, eye Powell speech

Federal Open Market Committee

Stock futures muted

U.S. stock futures were muted early Friday, as Wall Street eyed digested a slew of earnings reports and watched Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell who is scheduled to give a speech at a policy panel discussion later in the day.

Traders will be following the speech keenly to know Powell’s view on the state of the U.S. economy and for more hints on how the Fed plans to scale back its colossal stimulus program.

As of 4:55 a.m. ET, futures tied to the Dow Jones rose 18 points to 35,498. Nasdaq 100 futures lost 50.75 points, or 0.33% to 15,428 while S&P 500 futures were flat.

On Thursday, the Dow shed less than 0.1%, to end the session at 35,603.08 below its all-time high set on Aug. 16. The S&P 500 jumped 0.3% to finish at 4,549.78, notching its seventh straight while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.6% to 15,215.70.

Snap, Intel tumble after reporting earnings

Meanwhile, Snap (NYSE: SNAP) shares plunged in the pre-market trading session Friday after the company fell short of analysts’ revenue estimates by $3 million.

The Snapchat-parent said late Thursday third-quarter revenue grew 57% to $1.07 billion, while adjusted earnings came in at 17 per share.

Analysts polled by Refinitiv expected the social media company to report revenue of $1.10 billion and adjusted earnings of 8 cents per share.

As of writing, Snap stock was indicated $15.28, or 20.34% to $59.83 per share.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), on the other hand, reported upbeat earnings, but provided a weaker-than-anticipated gross margins and earnings forecast.

The chipmaker had adjusted earnings of $1.71 per share in the third quarter and revenue of $18.09 billion. Analysts expected earnings of $1.11 per share on revenue of $18.24 billion.

Intel stock fell $5.60, or 10% to $50.40 per share in the pre-market trading session.

Evergrande avoids default, makes bond payment

In other news, investors are breathing a sigh of relief today after China Evergrande Group repaid a missed interest payment on a dollar bond at the last minute.

The heavily indebted Chinese property developer wired $83.5 million interest payment to bondholders, according to a report by state-backed newspaper Securities Times. The funds would be paid to bondholders before the grace period expires this weekend.

While Evergrande did not provide a regulatory filing or formal statement in Hong Kong to spell out the implications for its future, news of the 11th hour payment was a big relief for investors.

Hong Kong-listed Evergrande shares have been under pressure in recent weeks after the group missed several other offshore interest payments.