Stock futures trimmed gains after December Durable Goods orders came in well below expectations, down 4.3%, versus estimates of a gain of 1.6%. The decline was due in part do fewer bookings for autos, large aircraft and military hardware, according to the Commerce Department. That report took the wind out of stocks in the early going. Earlier, Dow and S&P futures were indicated sharply higher ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting. The Nasdaq was indicated lower, in part due to Apple shares down about 7% in early trading. The company beat Wall Street earnings and revenue estimates, but iPhone sales disappointed.
Also ahead today, a fresh read on Consumer Confidence at 10am eastern. The much-anticipated Federal Reserve meeting begins. Investors awaiting news on whether the Fed will continue to wind down its now $75-billion a month bond-buying program. And tonight, President Obama will deliver his state of the Union Address at 9pm eastern time. Among the topics he's expected to tackle: income inequality and jobs. He's also expected to lay out a plan to go it alone if he fails to win Congressional support on some issues, including those that affect the economy and jobs.
A slew of big corporate earnings reports were released before the opening bell. American Airlines reported results for the first time since the merger with US Airways. American Airlines Group (AAL) reported a loss of $2 billion for the fourth quarter, due largely to charges related to the merger. The company did beat analysts’ earnings estimates by $0.04 a share.
Comcast (CMCSA) raised its dividend and authorized a new share repurchase program when it reported earnings this morning. The company missed adjusted earnings per share estimates by $0.02 while it saw revenue rise 6.2% from a year ago, beating estimates. Comcast said it added 43,000 video customers in the quarter versus a loss of 7,000 a year ago and also saw an 8.7% boost in its broadband revenue.
Ford (F) reported earnings that beat estimates by $0.03 a share and saw revenue rise 3.5% from a year ago, beating estimates as well. The better-than-expected results were attributed to record profits in North America and Asia and smaller losses in Europe.
Pfizer (PFE) also beat earnings per share estimates by $0.04. Revenue fell 2.4%, but also beat estimates. Pfizer blamed the decline in revenue on increased competition from generic drugs.