Futures inch lower on worsening China virus concerns, mixed earnings

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged lower on Thursday on rising worries over the coronavirus outbreak in China that prompted a lockdown of two cities in the country, with a mixed bag of results adding to the dour sentiment.

The benchmark S&P 500 closed with tiny gains on Wednesday and well below its record high after attempting to bounce back from sharp losses earlier in the week on concerns about the virus outbreak hitting the global economy.

China put on lockdown on Thursday two cities at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak amid fears the transmission rate will accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel for the Lunar New Year holidays.

Casino and hotel operators including Wynn Resorts Ltd (WYNN.O), Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd (MLCO.O) and Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS.N), which draw a large portion of their revenue from China, were down between and 2.8% and 4% in premarket trading.

Airlines stocks were mixed, with Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) slipping 0.9% after reporting a 21% fall in fourth-quarter profit due to Boeing 737 MAX costs, while JetBlue Airways Corp (JBLU.O) rose 2.6% after reporting a slight rise in quarterly profit.

Consumer products company Procter & Gamble (PG.N) and insurer Travelers Cos Inc (TRV.N), both members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI, fell about 2% after reporting results.

At 7:32 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 53 points, or 0.18%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 3.25 points, or 0.1% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 0.5 point, or 0.01%.

Of the 58 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far, 67.2% have topped Wall Street’s profit estimates, according to Refinitiv IBES data. On an average, 65% of the companies beat profit estimates.

Texas Instruments Inc (TXN.O) fell 0.7% despite forecasting first-quarter revenue above market expectations, but bullish brokerage actions on Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) and Western Digital Corp (WDC.O) were set to boost the sector.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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