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S&P 500 futures hold near highs as Microsoft results loom

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U.S. stock index futures held near record highs early Tuesday ahead of an earnings report from market darling Microsoft.

How are stock-index futures trading

S&P 500 futures
ES00,
-0.13%

dipped 5 points, or 0.1%, to 4949.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
YM00,
-0.15%

fell 48 points, or 0.1%, to 38440

Nasdaq 100 futures
NQ00,
-0.10%

eased 12 points, or 0.1%, to 17694

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA
rose 224 points, or 0.59%, to 38333, the S&P 500
SPX
increased 37 points, or 0.76%, to 4928, and the Nasdaq Composite
COMP
gained 173 points, or 1.12%, to 15628.

What’s driving markets

The U.S. fourth quarter 2023 corporate earnings reporting season kicks into high gear on Tuesday, with many investors aware that a recent surge in stocks to fresh peaks leaves little room for disappointment.

The S&P 500 on Monday notched its sixth record of 2024, taking its rally over just the last three months to 17.5%. The benchmark has been powered higher by big gains for large technology stocks, particularly those companies investors reckon will benefit from sales of AI-related technology, whether the hardware, like chip-maker Nvidia
NVDA,
+2.35%
,
or software, like Microsoft
MSFT,
+1.43%
.

The narrative has pushed Microsoft’s market value above $3 trillion, after a 65% surge in the past 12 months, and taken its next-12-month price/earnings ratio to 33.4, according to FactSet, a multiple that is notably richer than recent years.

Equity bulls will want to see that Microsoft’s results and forecasts, due after Tuesday’s closing bell, justify the market optimism, particularly given it has the biggest weighting in the S&P 500, currently 7.3%. Option pricing indicates Microsoft shares may move by plus or minus about 2.5% by the end of the week, according to MarketWatch calculations.

Four other of the so-called Magnificent 7 stocks will also publish earnings in the next few days — Alphabet
GOOG,
+0.68%

on Tuesday, Apple
AAPL,
-0.36%
,
Amazon
AMZN,
+1.34%

and Meta
META,
+1.75%

on Thursday.

“The price reaction to 5 of the ‘Mag 7’ reports…[is] critical for overall market direction,” said Julian Emanuel, strategist at Evercore ISI.

Other companies delivering results on Tuesday include Pfizer
PFE,
+0.04%
,
General Motors
GM,
+0.60%
,
UPS
UPS,
-0.80%

and HCA Healthcare
HCA,
+1.16%

before the opening bell rings on Wall Street, followed after the close by Advanced Micro Devices
AMD,
+0.33%
,
Starbucks
SBUX,
+1.08%
,
Electronic Arts
EA,
-0.60%

and Juniper Networks
JNPR,
+0.08%
.

Helping to underpin sentiment on Tuesday are softer Treasury yields. The benchmark 10-year
BX:TMUBMUSD10Y
has dipped back toward the 4% mark after the Treasury on Monday said it would need to borrow less in the first quarter than the market had feared.

The Federal Reserve will begin its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, though it is not expected to change interest rates this month.

U.S. economic updates set for release on Tuesday include the S&P Case-Shiller home price index for November, due at 9 a.m. Eastern, followed at 10 a.m. by the December job openings report and January consumer confidence.

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