US stock index futures are trading flat as a strong report from Bank of America reinforced expectations of a strong earnings season, but a drop in crude oil priced capped some early gains.
Shares of Bank of America rose 0.9 per cent in pre-market trading after the second-largest US lender’s quarterly profit beat analysts expectations on lower expenses and growth in loans and deposits.
This follows mixed earnings reports from three of its Wall Street peers on Friday, which dragged down bank stocks but could not stop the S&P 500 from closing at its highest level in more than five months.
The markets have been expecting a strong second-quarter earnings, which for S&P 500 companies is expected to have surged around 21 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Of the 27 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings through Friday, 85.2 per cent have topped earnings expectations.
Most of the earnings growth is expected to be from energy companies. But their stocks were off to a lower start on Monday after oil prices slipped as concerns about supply disruptions eased, Libyan ports reopened and traders eyed potential supply increases by Russia and other oil producers.
Exxon dropped 0.7 per cent and Chevron dipped 0.8 per cent, the biggest decliners among the Dow components in premarket trading.
Dow e-minis were up 6 points, or 0.02 per cent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 1.5 points, or 0.05 per cent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis remained unchanged.
On the macro front, data is expected to show US retail sales rose 0.5 per cent in June, after a 0.8 per cent gain in May. Excluding autos, retail sales likely increased 0.4 per cent.
Investors will also focus on the summit between US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, where they are expected to discuss the prospect of extending a nuclear disarmament treaty and the war in Syria.
The Kremlin said it did not expect much from the meeting, but hoped it would be a “first step” to resolving a crisis in ties.
“Russia and US meeting is important because the United States’s relationship with its European allies is already at an all-time low,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets said in a note.
“If Trump and Putin’s relation improves further, it would bring more friction between the US and the European Union.”
Among stocks, Arconic jumped 12.4 per cent after brokerage Jefferies initiated coverage with a “buy” rating.
Netflix was up 0.2 per cent ahead of its earnings report, expected after markets close. Amazon.com also gained 0.2 per cent as its ‘Prime Day’ shopping event kicked off.