Stock futures drift sideways ahead of big bank earnings

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Stock futures hugged the flat line Tuesday evening after a mixed session on Wall Street, with traders looking ahead to a slew of earnings results from big banks.

Contracts on the S&P 500 ticked just slightly higher, after the index jumped to record intraday and closing highs during the regular session. The Nasdaq’s 1% rise was its best in just over a week, with technology stocks comprising the “stay-at-home” trade getting bid higher following concerns over a pause in the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) vaccine. 

“The reopening trade took a little pause today,” Greg Swenson, Brigg Macadam Founding Partner, told Yahoo Finance on Tuesday. “I still think the right trade is leveraging the GDP growth and the cyclical trade. So bank and other cyclicals, industrials – I think there’s a chance to buy those a bit cheaper after today’s selloff, and I think it’s still the beginning of that trade, where you want to be levered to economic growth and GDP growth.” 

Investors are poised to receive earnings results from the banks including Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) Wednesday morning, which will set the tone for the rest of first-quarter earnings reports in the weeks to come. Wall Street analysts are expecting a surge in corporate profits versus last year, with a firming economic backdrop and strong consumer spending set to boost companies’ results.

“We could see upwards of 30% year-over-year earnings growth in the first quarter. That would the most we’ve seen since coming out of the financial crisis,” Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial, told Yahoo Finance. Expectations are for about 25% earnings growth in the first quarter. And let’s not forget in the previous two quarters what happened: massive, massive beats. 

“That bar is a little bit higher, but we think once again corporate America will step up and justify a lot of the valuations that we see here,” he added.

Other risk assets also traded at all-time highs on Tuesday. Bitcoin prices (BTC-USD) reached a record high of more than $63,700, with cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase (COIN) poised to go public in a direct listing on Wednesday. 

6:05 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures trade little changed

Here’s where markets were trading Tuesday evening: 

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,133.75, up 1 point or 0.02%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 33,570, unchanged 

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,976.00, up 0.75 points or 0.01%

A Wall St sign hangs at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street on March 23, 2021 in New York City. - Wall Street stocks were under pressure early ahead of congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell as US Treasury bond yields continued to retreat. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

A Wall St sign hangs at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street on March 23, 2021 in New York City. – Wall Street stocks were under pressure early ahead of congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell as US Treasury bond yields continued to retreat. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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