Merck & Co. rose after reporting quarterly earnings that topped analysts’ projections. United Parcel Service Inc. slipped 3.4 percent after cutting its full-year forecast as second-quarter profit fell short of estimates.Herbalife Ltd. (HLF) sank 12 percent after posting quarterly earnings that missed estimates.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) expiring in September gained 0.2 percent to 1,977.4 at 8:09 a.m. in New York. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts rose 53 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,969 today.
“The general news flow you’re getting out of corporates has been positive.” Robert Royle of Smith
American Express Co. and Newmont Mining Corp. are among S&P 500 companies reportingearnings today. About 77 percent of those that have posted results this season have beaten analysts’ estimates for profit, while 66 percent exceeded sales projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Profits probably rose 8.2 percent in the second quarter, while sales gained 3.5 percent, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
The Fed will reduce its monthly purchases for the sixth time to $25 billion from $35 billion after a two-day policy meeting starting today, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Investors will also get a reading on second-quarter economic growth tomorrow.
A Conference Board report at 10 a.m. New York time may show its consumer confidence index rose to 85.4 in July from 85.2 a month earlier, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Separate data may show the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 U.S. cities grew at a 9.9 percent pace in the year ended May.
The S&P 500 closed little changed yesterday as merger activity and optimism over corporate earnings offset concern about crises in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Merck added 0.6 percent. The second-biggest U.S. drugmaker reported that second-quarter net income more than doubled to $2 billion as the company cut costs. Excluding one-time items, earnings were 85 cents a share, beating by 4 cents the average analyst projection.
UPS lost 3.4 percent. The world’s biggest package shipping company cut its 2014 outlook after reporting earnings of $1.21 a share for the quarter, below forecasts for $1.25 a share.
Herbalife tumbled 12 percent. Excluding some items, the nutrition company posted earnings of $1.55 a share, missing analysts’ estimates by 2 cents. Los Angeles-based Herbalife also said sales this year will grow by 8.5 percent to 10.5 percent, slower than the range of 10 percent to 12 percent it predicted in April.
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