Futures search for direction amid earnings deluge By Investing.com

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Investing.com — U.S. stock futures edged lower on Thursday, but remained largely subdued, as investors parsed through a raft of fresh corporate earnings.

By 07:04 ET (12:04 GMT), the contract had dipped by 10 points or 0.2%, were lower by 31 points or 0.2%, and had fallen by 38 points or 0.2%.

The main averages on Wall Street climbed in the prior session, with traders cheering on better-than-anticipated quarterly income from companies like carmaker Ford (NYSE:), burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:), and cybersecurity group Fortinet (NASDAQ:). The benchmark rose by 0.8%, closing at a new all-time high, while the tech-heavy rose by 1.0% and the 30-stock edged up by 0.4%.

However, the buoyant mood was partially offset by comments from Federal Reserve officials that further upended hopes for imminent U.S. interest rate cuts. U.S. government bond yields, which typically move inversely to prices, increased.

Jitters also continued to surround the Chinese stock market, threatening to dent the upbeat sentiment. China’s benchmark CSI 300 index has dropped by more than 2% so far this year despite Beijing rolling out a string of support measures, including short-selling bans and personnel changes at the country’s top securities regulator.

Walt Disney (NYSE:) shares advanced in premarket U.S. trading on Thursday after the entertainment giant unveiled better-than-expected first-quarter earnings.

Disney reported adjusted profit per share of $1.22 in the three months ended on Dec. 30, above Wall Street estimates of $1.00, as well as a $3 billion share buyback and 50% uptick in its quarterly dividend. The firm emphasized that it had registered “significant” cost savings worth $500 million during the period, and said it was on pace to hit its target of achieving profitablity at its key streaming business by this autumn.

The results come as Disney faces a proxy battle from activist investors keen on gaining board seats in order to institute strategic changes that they believe will help boost the company’s share price. Yet Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger struck a bullish tone in the wake of the release, saying the numbers showed that the business had “turned the corner and entered a new era.”

Meanwhile, shares in Arm (NASDAQ:) surged in premarket trading after the chip designer hiked its annual guidance as royalty revenue was bolstered by soaring demand for artificial intelligence.

In only its second earnings report going public in September, Arm said it expects future growth will be “driven by the need for more energy-efficient compute and AI capability.”

The U.K.-based company — which counts Nvidia (NASDAQ:), Intel (NASDAQ:) and Apple (NASDAQ:) among its backers — also posted fiscal third-quarter adjusted income per share of $0.29, well ahead of Wall Street estimates of $0.25.

Oil prices were inching higher on Thursday, with traders gauging the implications of faltering Israel-Hamas ceasefire deal negotiations.   

expiring in April rose 1.1% to $80.07 a barrel, while climbed 1.0% to $74.67 per barrel by 07:10 ET. 

Prices were given some support after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a ceasefire deal proposed by Hamas leaders, dashing hopes for a halt in hostilities to the conflict.

U.S.-led forces also continued with their strikes against the the Iran-aligned Houthi group, which in turn gave little indication of ending its attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. The developments heralded more potential supply disruptions in the region, a key shipping artery between Europe and Asia. 

Inventory data out of the U.S. provided middling signals on supply and demand as well. While and inventories saw modest draws in the week to Feb. 2, overall U.S. grew much more than expected as production recovered from a cold snap in January.

Oliver Gray contributed to this report.

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