Stock futures rise as oil rallies

Major averages end near session lows despite Alphabet’s earnings report

FOX Business’ Lauren Simonetti says investors are overall optimistic about the future despite some losses on the Nasdaq, S&P 500 and Dow Jones. FOX Business’ Connell McShane reports on Alphabet Inc.’s earnings missed the mark but revenue came out better than expected amid coronavirus.

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U.S. equity futures are pointing to a higher open Wednesday ahead of a GDP report on the economy followed by remarks from the Federal Reserve.

The major futures indexes are indicating a gain of  0.6 percent as oil rose in electronic trading.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery gained 13 percent or $1.64 to $13.96 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 44 cents the previous day to settle at $12.34.

Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 58 cents to $21.04 per barrel in London. It rose 47 cents on Tuesday to $20.46.

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The Commerce Department is expected to estimate that the gross domestic product, the broadest gauge of the economy, shrank at an annual rate of 5 percent or more in the January-March quarter.

That would be the sharpest quarterly drop in GDP since the Great Recession, which ended in 2009. And it would be the first quarterly contraction in six years.

Federal Reserve policymakers are expected to offer sweeping assurances Wednesday that they will act as needed to help prevent the damage from growing even worse.

Yet the Fed is unlikely to unveil any new emergency programs. Fed officials have already taken a range of extraordinary actions that have propelled them into new corners of the economy and elevated their bond-buying to new heights.

CORONAVIRUS SLOWS ALPHABET GROWTH, DRIVES GOOGLE USERS

Google, YouTube and cloud-based services drove parent company Alphabet to a 13 percent revenue gain, the slowest growth the company has seen in more than four years as the coronavirus pandemic spread around the world.

Alphabet reported $41.2 billion in revenue, or $33.6 billion after ad commissions, for its quarter that ended March 31, which is slightly better than analysts’ expectations. The company posted $6.84 billion in profit, earning $9.87 per share.

In Asian markets on Wednesday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.1 percent, China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.2 percent. Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.

France and Spain joined governments that plan to ease anti-virus controls and allow businesses to reopen.

Investors are trying to puzzle out when the deepest global downturn since the 1930s might end. They have been encouraged by plans to relax anti-virus controls that shut down factories, retailing, travel and other industries.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES24101.55-32.23-0.13%
SP500S&P 5002863.39-15.09-0.52%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX8607.731155-122.43-1.40%

In Tuesday's session, the benchmark S&P 500 Index lost 0.5 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq, which is dominated by big tech stocks, fell 1.4 percent.

Netflix, which set record highs with viewers stuck at home, slipped 4.2 percent.

Among the winners were travel companies, shopping-mall owners and other businesses that got hammered after widespread stay-at-home orders.

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Harley-Davidson jumped 15.2 percent after laying out plans to slash costs and preserve cash, including a cut of its dividend and a halt to its stock buyback program.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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