U.S. futures pointed to a significantly lower open for Wall Street’s major stock indexes on Friday.
Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures implied a drop of more than 350 points at the open on Friday. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to steep losses.
One strategist said the move after-hours was driven by poorer-than-expected earnings from tech bellwethers Amazon and Google-parent company Alphabet.
There were “high expectations” for this earnings season, King Lip, chief strategist at Baker Avenue Asset Management, told CNBC.
“The earnings are not coming in as great as people had suspected,” Lip said, adding that “for Amazon specifically, forward guidance was surprisingly light.”
Amazon said Thursday that it expected revenue to come in the range of $66.5 billion and $72.5 billion in the fourth quarter, well below the Street’s estimate of $73.79 billion. Alphabet’s results also disappointed, with the internet giant reporting revenues of $33.7 billion in the third quarter, versus an expected $34.04 billion.
Vasu Menon of Singapore-based OCBC Bank, said earnings have been strong so far, but he added a note of caution. The vice president of OCBC’s Group Wealth Management said investors already expected strong earnings, and they now fear the effects of the U.S.-China trade war, particularly going into next year.
U.S. stocks had seen a recovery on Thursday from steep losses in the previous trading session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped by 401.13 points to close at 24,984.55, snapping a three-day losing streak. The S&P 500 saw gains of 1.9 percent to close at 2,705.57. The gains sent the Dow and S&P 500 back into positive territory for 2018, but barely.
Through Thursday’s close, the Dow and S&P 500 were down 5.6 percent and 7.2 percent for October, respectively. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, had lost 9.1 percent.
“Despite (yesterday’s) rally in stocks, investors are still wary that further moves to the downside could be coming,” said Rakuten Securities Australia in a morning note. “After hours announcements from Amazon and Alphabet of slowing growth have done nothing to spur investor confidence and traders will still be cautious as we move through the sessions into the weekend.”
“Liquidity may become an issue as we move towards the weekend after this (week’s) excessive moves and traders will be preparing for sharp moves in the late New York session whilst hoping for a bit more consolidation,” they said.
Several factors have conspired to knock markets down this month — some earnings disappointment, fear of rising interest rates, a brewing conflict between Italy and the European Union over budget spending, criticism of oil power Saudi Arabia after the killing of a dissident journalist and finally, worries that world growth is losing steam.
Traders will likely continue to monitor the latest batch of corporate earnings Friday, with a host of firms set to report before the bell — Charter Communications, Colgate-Palmolive and Autoliv, just to name a few.
On the data side of things, U.S. third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data is due today at 8:30 a.m. ET, while consumer sentiment figures will come in at 10 a.m. ET.