Futures mostly lower as investors assess U.S.-China trade deal, earnings

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were marginally lower on Wednesday ahead of the release of details of an initial U.S.-China trade deal, with investors also digesting the second round of bank earnings after a strong set of reports on Tuesday. Wall Street eased from all-time highs on Tuesday after a report said Washington would likely maintain tariffs on Chinese goods until after the presidential election in November. That somewhat dulled hopes of a de-escalation in their tariff war that has hit hundreds of billions of dollars in goods, roiling financial markets, uprooting supply chains and slowing global growth. On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are set to sign the Phase 1 trade deal, which aims to vastly increase Chinese purchases of U.S.-manufactured products, agricultural goods, energy and services. Aside from trade, investors are watching fourth-quarter earnings reports to see if the trade truce will boost corporate earnings and encourage better outlook. Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) followed JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Citigroup Inc (C.N) in reporting better-than-expected results, supported by its bond trading division. The lender’s shares were flat in premarket trading. The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock Inc (BLK.N), beat analysts’ profit estimates as more money rolled into its cash management business and exchange-traded funds. Its shares rose 1%. Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) fell 0.4% after reporting a 26% drop in quarterly profit, hurt by weakness in its investment banking business and higher operating costs. UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N), the largest U.S. health insurer, slipped 1.8% after it affirmed its full-year outlook for 2020 adjusted earnings. Retailer Target Corp (TGT.N) slumped 7.6% after it missed its own expectations for 2019 holiday season sales, blaming weakness in toys and electronics sales. Walmart Inc (WMT.N) fell 2%. At 7:23 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 21 points, or 0.07%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 1 points, or 0.03% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 2 points, or 0.02%. Shares in PG&E Corp (PCG.N) rose 5.7% after Citigroup upgraded the stock to “buy” from “neutral”, saying the bankrupt power producer’s potential deal with creditors is a “big step forward”.

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