Stock Futures Creep Higher Ahead of Earnings Rush

New York (July 17)  Stock futures were slightly higher on Monday, July 17, in what looked to be a quiet start to the week ahead of a rush of earnings in the coming days.

S&P 500 futures added 0.06%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 0.06%, and Nasdaq futures rose 0.17%.

The second-quarter earnings season kicked off on Friday with a number of notable reports from the banking sector. Notable earnings in the coming week include Netflix Inc. (NFLX) on Monday; International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)  , Bank of America Corp. (BAC)  and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) on Tuesday, July 18; and eBay Inc. (EBAY) , Snap Inc. (SNAP) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) on Thursday, July 20.

Overall, analysts anticipate another quarter of above-average strength. CFRA Research said it anticipates 6.2% year-over-year earnings growth among S&P 500 companies, better than a 1.7% earnings decline seen in the same quarter a year earlier. The energy sector is expected to lead the pack, recovering from weakness over the previous two years.

"We believe another quarter of double-digit earnings growth for the S&P 500 in the second quarter is possible, given generally solid overall economic data, the strong rebound in energy sector profits, and solid financial and technology sector earnings gains," said Burt White, chief investment officer for LPL Financial.

BlackRock Inc. (BLK)  moved slightly lower in premarket trading Monday after falling short of profit and sales estimates over its recent quarter. Adjusted earnings of $5.24 a share missed consensus of $5.40. Revenue rose 6% to $2.97 billion. Analysts anticipated revenue of $2.99 billion. 

Wall Street closed at records on Friday, July 14, the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the third day in a row. The Dow was up 0.40% on Friday, July 14, setting a new record close of 21,639. The S&P 500 added 0.47% to end at 2,459, superseding the record set on June 19. The Nasdaq was close to its own records.

It's a fairly quiet day in economic news. The economic calendar on Monday includes the Empire State Manufacturing Survey for July at 8:30 a.m. ET.
In deal news Monday, Church & Dwight Co. (CHD) agreed to purchase Water Pik for $1 billion in an all-cash deal. Church & Dwight anticipates the deal to purchase the flossing company will close in the third quarter. Water Pik had net sales of roughly $265 million in the 12 months to June 30.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX) increased more than 1% in premarket trading after agreeing to sell its Obagi Medical Products in a $190 million all-cash deal. Haitong International Zhonghua Finance Acquisition Fund has agreed to purchase the dermatological product line. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.

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