Wall Street was set for a lower open on Wednesday after Goldman Sachs posted a decline in quarterly profit, denting investor optimism about a strong earnings season.
Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc
On Tuesday, bank stocks sank in the wake of weaker-than-expected results from Citigroup Inc
Investors had high expectations for financials, being one of the market leaders recently... Goldman Sachs certainly adds disappointment, said Steve Goldman, market strategist at Weeden & Co in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Shares of Wells Fargo & Co
Select Sector Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund
S&P 500 futures fell 5.4 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 28 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures fell 1.5 points.
Despite concerns over bank results, earnings from Apple Inc
Apple's profit blew past Wall Street expectations on strong sales of iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. The results offered some reassurance to investors worried over what impact the latest medical leave by Chief Executive Steve Jobs would have on Apple's growth.
Apple shares were up 2.3 percent at $348.67 in premarket trade after a number of brokerages, including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill, raised their price targets on the stock.
IBM's quarterly profit also easily topped estimates, and a recovery in its services business raised hopes that global companies would spend more on technology. The stock was up 2.1 percent at $153.85 in premarket trade.
Optimism about earnings has bolstered equities, with the S&P 500 <.SPX> ending Friday's trade with its seventh straight week of gains.
The broad-market index (S&P 500) is on the verge of toppling the psychologically important 1,300 level, said Joseph Hargett, analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio. It last closed above that on August 28, 2008.
Groundbreaking on new U.S. home construction fell more than expected in December to its lowest in more than a year, suggesting the battered housing sector remains a major roadblock to economic recovery.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)