Futures lower ahead of more earnings
25 years after the infamous Black Monday crash, markets still prove to be volatile at a moment's notice.
U.S. equity futures fell in early Friday trading as investors marked the 25th anniversary of Black Monday, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 23% in one day.
Also, European leaders continued their summit in Brussels and seem close to disbursing the next bailout tranche to Greece as well as making headway on the details of a banking union, despite the legal uncertainty surrounding it.
- Chinese foreign direct investment, a measure of foreign confidence in the Chinese economy, fell 6.8% as compared to a year ago. Economists were expecting a decline of 3.5% following the previous 1.4% drop.
- Moody's kept the German banking sector on negative watch, meaning it could downgrade German banks if leaders do not act quickly enough to support the eurozone.
- Google (GOOG) shares fell more than 9% in midday trading Thursday as the company's auditor released its earnings results early. The search giant's earnings and revenue for the quarter missed analyst expectations.
- S&P 500 futures fell 1.7 points to 1,449.80.
- The EUR/USD was lower at 1.3054.
- Spanish 10-year government bond yields fell to 5.317%.
- Italian 10-year government bond yields fell to 4.741%.
- Gold 0.6% to $1,734.30 per ounce.
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Commodities were mixed early Friday as metal futures slumped. WTI crude futures fell 0.04% to $92.06 per barrel and Brent crude futures rose 0.38% to $112.85 per barrel. Copper futures slipped 1% to $370.55 on the weak Chinese investment data. Gold was lower and silver futures fell 1.41% to $32.405 per ounce.
Currency markets showed broad euro weakness in overnight trading, reversing the trend of the previous four trading sessions. The EUR/USD was lower and the dollar rose against the yen to 79.27. Overall, the Dollar Index rose 0.08% on strength against the euro and the yen, the two biggest components of the index. The dollar was weaker against the pound, the Canadian dollar, and the Swiss franc. The Aussie dollar was rather weak, highlighting the broad risk-off tone of markets, however it was stronger against the euro.
- Chesapeake Energy (CHK) rose 1.85% in premarket trading as natural gas prices rallied and reports indicated there might be a shortage of natural gas rigs.
- Google (GOOG) shares rose 1.33% in premarket action after dropping Thursday on weak earnings.
- Microsoft (MSFT) shares fell 1.78% in the premarket trading after the company reported weaker than expected earnings. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)
- Caterpillar (CAT) fell 0.61% pre-market as Barclays (BCS) cuts its price target on the stock to $114 from $116.
- Air Products and Chemicals (APD) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings per share of $1.43 vs. $1.51 a year ago.
- Edwards Lifesciences (EW) is expected to report third quarter earnings per share of $0.57 vs. $0.38 a year ago.
- General Electric (GE) is expected to report third quarter earnings per share of $0.36 vs. $0.31 a year ago.
- Honeywell (HON) is expected to report third quarter earnings per share of $1.14 vs. $1.10 a year ago.
- McDonald's (MCD) is expected to report third quarter earnings per share of $1.48 vs. $1.45 a year ago.
- Schlumberger (SLB) is expected to report third quarter earnings per share of $1.07 vs. $0.98 a year ago.
On the economic calendar Friday, existing home sales are the only relevant data to be released in the U.S. Canadian CPI is also due out, and it can affect U.S. markets if the number is significantly different than expectations.
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After enjoying a smooth rise in stock prices since May, investors are about to be hit with another bout of volatility.
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