Premarket: 7 things to know before the bell
1. Gloomy markets: The good times can’t last forever.
U.S. stock futures were lower and the main indexes in Europe and Asia were in negative territory on Tuesday.
The losses weren’t dramatic, however. The biggest loser was the Nikkei in Tokyo, which fell by 1.4%.
The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit all-time highs last week. U.S. stocks haven’t had a sizable pullback in a long time and volatility has been remarkably low.
2. State of the Union: President Trump will speak to the nation during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Trump has plenty of reasons to boast about the economy. The U.S. added 2 million jobs in 2017, and GDP grew by 2.3% — below Trump’s 3% target, but well above the 1.5% growth in 2016.
Some companies have cheered the government’s tax overhaul by announcing investments and giving bonuses and raises to employees.
Trump may reiterate his tough stance on trade: He’s threatened to pull out of NAFTA and warned that the U.S. administration may soon address “very unfair” trade with the European Union.
Investors will also be listening for an outline of the president’s infrastructure plan.
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3. Stocks to watch — MetLife, Thomson Reuters, JPMorgan: Shares in MetLife (MET) were down 7% premarket on worries about the company’s business operations.
The insurer said in December that it had lost track of potentially tens of thousands of customers to whom it owed pension and annuity payments, and was trying to track them down.
MetLife postponed its fourth quarter earnings release on Monday, saying that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had asked for more information on the matter.
The company has attributed the problem to “a material weakness in internal control over financial reporting.”
Thomson Reuters(TRI) is in focus after the company confirmed that asset management firm Blackstone Group (BX) is in talks to take a stake in its financial and risk unit.
JPMorgan Chase(JPM) boss Jamie Dimon revealed Monday that he’ll stay at the helm of America’s largest bank for about five more years.
4. Earnings: Aetna (AET), Harley-Davidson (HOG), McDonald’s (MCD), Pfizer (PFE), Philips (PHG) and T. Rowe Price (TROW) will release earnings before the open.
Electronic Arts(EA) and Fidelity National (FNF) will follow after the close.
5. Confident consumers: The U.S. Conference Board reveals its latest monthly consumer confidence index at 10 a.m. ET.
The American economy has added new jobs for 87 consecutive months and unemployment is at its lowest level in 17 years. That could explain why consumer confidence is extremely high.
European consumer confidence figures will also be released, alongside preliminary GDP figures for the final quarter of 2017.
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6. Yellen’s farewell: On Tuesday and Wednesday, Janet Yellen will oversee her final Federal Reserve meeting. She’ll relinquish her post to Jerome Powell on February 3.
Powell is likely to continue slowly lifting interest rates as the economy improves.
7. Coming this week:
Tuesday — State of the Union; Earnings from Harley-Davidson (HOG), McDonald’s (MCD), Aetna (AET), Pfizer (PFE) and Electronic Arts (EA)
Wednesday — Earnings from Anthem (ANTX), AT&T (T), Microsoft (MSFT), eBay (EBAY), PayPal (PYPL), Mondelez (MDLZ) and Facebook (FB)
Thursday — Earnings from Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), Time Warner (TWX), Hershey (HSY), UPS (UPS), MasterCard (MA), Visa (V), Mattel (MAT), DowDuPont (DWDP) and ConocoPhillips (COP)
Friday — U.S. monthly jobs report