By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – U.S. stocks are seen edging higher at the open Friday, potentially ending the first big week of the new quarterly corporate earnings season on a positive note.
The first week of the second quarter’s corporate results season has centered around the U.S. banking sector. Most of the major lenders beat expectations on both the top and bottom lines as the release of reserves, as well as strength in equities trading and investment banking fees, masked weaker underlying profitability in lending. Sluggish loan activity coupled with stretched valuations have tended to see these banks struggle to post stock price gains.
Financial services company Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) is scheduled to report its results later Friday, and is expected to reap the benefit of its acquisition of online rival TD Ameritrade last year.
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) will also be in the spotlight after the Wall Street Journal reported that the chip maker is in talks to buy semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries for about $30 billion.
Also of interest will be the release of retail sales data, which will serve as a gauge for the health of the consumer. Earlier this week Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that there had not been sufficient economic recovery to warrant the central bank reining in its ultra-easy monetary policy.
The June numbers are due at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT), and are seen illustrating Powell’s point, by dropping 0.4% on a month-on-month basis, a small improvement from May’s 1.3% fall.
The University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumer Sentiment is also due for release, at 10 AM ET, and is seen improving to 86.5 in July from 85.5 in June.
Elsewhere, oil prices stabilized Friday, but are heading towards their worst week since mid-March on worries that the surge in new Covid-19 cases globally will hit demand, while the likelihood of a new OPEC+ production deal may lift supply at the same time.
U.S. Futures Edge Higher; Retail Sales and Michigan Sentiment in Focus
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