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US pre-open: Futures inch lower ahead of Microsoft earnings

(Sharecast News) - US stock futures were pulling back on Tuesday morning, with investors taking profits ahead of some market-moving events after the Dow and S&P 500 set fresh record highs the previous session. Futures on the Nasdaq and S&P 500 were down 0.1% by 0626 in New York, while the Dow was trading 0.2% lower.

Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Meta Platforms all report their latest quarterly results over the next three sessions and have the potential to move markets since the five blue chip tech stocks represent 22% of the S&P 500 by market cap.

Microsoft is first up, due to publish its figures after the closing bell on Tuesday, and will have a lot to prove following a 65% surge in the stock over the past 12 months.

"Today represents the biggest day of fourth quarter earnings thus far, with Microsoft hoping to maintain its new crown as a $3 trillion business," said analyst Joshua Mahony from Scope Markets. "Coming in the wake of yesterday's bumper earnings and outlook from Super Micro computers (SMCI), there is a renewed feeling of optimism around the potential size and longevity of this AI boom."

Also due out after markets close are earnings from Advanced Micro Devices, Starbucks, Electronic Arts and Juniper Networks.

UPS was falling 5% in pre-market trading after the delivery group missed fourth-quarter forecasts and underwhelmed with its guidance for 2024.

On the rise was General Motors with futures jumping 6% after the automaker delivered a profit of $2.1bn for the fourth quarter, up from $2.0bn the year before, despite acknowledging that the pace of electric-vehicle growth has slowed.

Investors were also looking ahead to the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting which culminates on Wednesday but is widely expected to see the central bank stand pat on interest rates. The market will be on the lookout for more clarity on the outlook for rates since market expectations of a cut in March have been recently pushed back following resilient economic data.

Finally, the week will be capped off by the all-important US jobs report on Friday, which is currently expected to show that non-farm payrolls came in at 180,000 in January, down from 216,000 in December, while hourly earnings growth eased to 0.3% from 0.4%.

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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