© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A street sign, Wall Street, is seen outside New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York
By Shivani Kumaresan
(Reuters) -U.S. stock indexes were set to rise at the open on Wednesday after upbeat earnings reports from Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan boosted investor expectations of a strong rebound for corporate America amid swift COVID-19 vaccinations.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:) rose 1.5% as it reported a massive jump in first-quarter profit, capitalizing on record levels of global dealmaking activity.
JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:)’s shares dipped 0.6% even as the largest U.S. bank’s earnings jumped almost 400% in the first quarter, as it released more than $5 billion in reserves it had set aside to cover coronavirus-driven loan defaults.
“It certainly is a solid quarter (for banks) … often the stocks run up into news and then at least initial reaction is some profit taking and we were seeing that this morning in JPMorgan,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.
“I think investors who have invested in the banking sector will feel good about the results and which are likely keep them invested in the sector.”
The financials sector was one of the best performers in the first quarter, rising 15%, even as the Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates low in the near future.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell is expected to participate in a virtual Economic Club of Washington interview later in the day.
First-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 25% in the quarter, according to Refinitiv IBES data. That would be the biggest quarterly gain since 2018, when tax cuts under former President Donald Trump had powered profit growth.
Earnings at S&P 500 firms had dropped 12.8% in the first quarter of 2020 and 30.6% in the second, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
At 8:32 a.m. ET, were up 15 points, or 0.04%, were up 3.25 points, or 0.08%, and were up 39.5 points, or 0.28%.
The S&P 500 closed at record highs in the previous session as a jump in high-flying technology stocks helped offset the impact of stronger-than-expected inflation data and a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:)’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Technology stocks including Apple Inc (NASDAQ:), Alphabet (NASDAQ:) Inc, Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:) and Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc edged higher.
Cryptocurrency and blockchain-related firms including Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:) and Marathon Digital Holdings rose 4.5% and 1.5% ahead of Coinbase Global Inc’s listing on the Nasdaq, a day after bitcoin hit a record high of over $63,000.
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