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Stocks - U.S. Futures Set for Losses Despite JPMorgan Beat

By Peter Nurse - Wall Street is set to open lower Tuesday, as investors bank recent gains and look to the start of the earnings season with a degree of caution despite an impressive lead from JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM).

Futures for the S&P 500 were trading 2 points, or 0.1%, lower by 07:15 ET (12:15 GMT), futures for the NASDAQ were 11 points, or 0.1%, lower, while the DJI futures contract outperformed, up 4 points, or 0.1%.

This push back comes after the major U.S. equity indices posted new highs on Monday. The broad-based S&P 500 cash index gained 22.78 points, or 0.7%, to close at 3288.13, a new high. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite also ended the day at a record, climbing 95.07 points, or 1%, to 9273.93. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 83.28 points, or 0.3%, to close at 28,907.05, just 0.2% below last week’s record high.

All eyes now are on the start of the U.S. reporting season, starting today with banking giants JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC). The banks are often taken as a rough proxy for the health of the broader economy, and are thus likely to set the tone of the overall earnings season.

JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) impressed with its fourth-quarter release, with earnings per share coming at $2.57, compared with $2.35 expected, and revenue was $29.21 billion, above the expected $27.96 billion. Its shares climbed 1.8% in premarket trading.

These banks have had to cope with the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates three times last year. Lower rates reduce what banks can charge on loans, but they also cut what they have to pay for deposits.

Still, any market pullback is unlikely to be severe as global economic sentiment remains healthy. There was a boost to this overnight as the U.S. revoked its decision, taken last summer, to call China a currency manipulator - just days before the two countries are set to sign phase one of a trade deal.

This phase one deal would prevent any further tit-for-tat tariffs and roll back some existing U.S. tariffs in Chinese goods, although it would leave many others still in place and will also not address major concerns about China's treatment of intellectual property and its extensive subsidies for state-owned companies.

Elsewhere, crude oil bounced while gold futures lost ground as investors left the safe haven amid broadening optimism.

U.S. Crude Oil WTI Futures traded up 0.7% at $58.51 by 06:55 AM ET (11:55 GMT). International Brent Oil Futures also climbed 0.9% to $64.78. Gold futures for February delivery on New York’s COMEX fell 0.4% to $1,544.05.

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