Wall St set for flat open as investors parse earnings

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

U.S. stocks were little changed on Thursday as investors assessed quarterly earnings from big banks, while economic data pointed to strength in the labor market.

Bank of America and Wells Fargo shares were down 1 percent each in premarket trading after the banks posted lower quarterly earnings.

The results come a day after JPMorgan beat lowered expectations for first-quarter profit and revenue.

“We’re looking at a flattish kind of market that is looking to grasp a positive theme and the banks haven’t delivered this morning,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

The S&P financial sector is down nearly 4 percent for the year – the worst performer among the 10 major S&P sectors – weighed down by the uncertainty surrounding U.S. interest rates and potential defaults in the energy sector.

Expectations for corporate earnings are weak, with S&P 500 companies on average expected to post a 7.8 percent decline in first-quarter profit, according to Thomson Reuters data.

At 8:53 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 27 points, or 0.15 percent, with 27,047 contracts changing hands. S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.5 points, or 0.12 percent, with 237,464 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 3.5 points, or 0.08 percent, on 21,442 contracts.

Oil steadied after the International Energy Agency trimmed its forecast for demand growth, but said U.S. oil output was falling fast. [O/R]

Data on Thursday showed U.S. consumer prices rose 0.1 percent in March, below the estimated 0.2 percent rise, while jobless claims fell by 13,000 to 253,000 last week, well below the 270,000 expected.

Seagate Technology shares were down 12 percent at $29.90 premarket as the hard-disk maker’s disappointing third-quarter estimates prompted a slew of price target cuts. Western Digital fell 4.2 percent $42.90.

Chipotle Mexican Grill rose 2.3 percent to $455 after JP Morgan raised its rating on the stock.

[Source:- Reuters]