Global equities were poised for sharp losses on Friday, with technology shares set to lead lower on Wall Street after Big Tech earnings failed to cheer investors. That is with the U.S. presidential election just days away and the Covid-19 pandemic spiraling out of control on both sides of the Atlantic.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 240 points, while Nasdaq-100 futures dropped 1.1% and S&P 500 futures slid 0.8% ahead of the open. Major indexes snapped a four-session rout on Thursday, after third-quarter preliminary gross domestic product data climbed 33.1% and weekly jobless claims dipped.
But the focus was falling squarely on earnings from major technology companies that reported late on Thursday. Asian stocks fell across the board and the Stoxx Europe 600 index struggled for traction as shares of several big U.S. technology companies fell after a raft of earnings.
Apple shares were dropping in premarket trading after the iPhone maker posted slightly better-than-expected sales and profits for its fiscal fourth-quarter. Investors zeroed in on a lack of guidance and a slip in iPhone sales.
Shares of Amazon.com were also down, possibly amid disappointment over its forecasts for fourth-quarter operating income, even as the e-commerce giant’s earnings were a sound beat. Facebook shares were also down after its results, which alluded to uncertainty in 2021.
Hardest hit among the late earnings crowd was Twitter, which fell 17% in premarket trading. The microblogging and social media group soundly beat forecasts, but noted that the behavior of advertisers was unpredictable ahead of the U.S. election.
Netflix shares rallied late on Thursday, but were down slightly in premarket trading. The streaming video service raised prices for U.S. subscribers, a move many analysts have been anticipating in recent months.
Investors on both sides of the Atlantic continued to watch climbing coronavirus cases, with the need for more stimulus rising. U.S. consumers will likely have to wait until after next week’s presidential election for a stimulus package, after lawmakers failed to reach agreement despite weeks of trying.
Friday’s data calendar includes personal income and consumer spending for September, the third-quarter employment cost index, and a consumer sentiment index.
In Europe, the French government cut its 2020 growth forecast to a contraction of 11%. The aim is to take into account the impact of fresh Covid-19 restrictions, which were announced earlier this week. Germany also announced temporary lockdowns.
Meeting on Thursday, the European Central Bank kept interest rates and policy unchanged, but hinted at the possibility of stimulus for December.
Shares of Air France-KLM tumbled on Friday, after the airline swung to a heavy net loss in its third quarter, cutting its capacity views, and warning of significantly lower earnings for the last three months of the year.