US Markets

Geopolitics to guide Wall Street on Friday


U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a higher Wall Street open on Friday, rebounding some from a downturn in global stocks and other risky assets after a passenger plane was shot down over Ukraine.

The crash of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, with 298 people aboard, followed new U.S. and European Union sanctions on Russia. U.S. officials say the aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile. Both the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels fighting in the region have denied responsibility.

"The last 24 hours will likely have a big negative impact on Western-Russian relations. So it's going to be a nervous time ahead while we await further developments but this feels like a big geopolitical blow for financial markets," said Jim Reid of Deutsche Bank in a morning research note.

Violence is also worsening in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a ground offensive in Gaza. His decision came as a surprise, as ceasefire talks between Palestinian officials and Israel appeared to be progressing. Oil prices rose on the news.

To add to the list of worries, just before the market close on Thursday there were reports about an unattended package at the White House. This was subsequently cleared by authorities.

Second-quarter earnings season continued Friday, with General Electric edging higher in early New York trading after the conglomerate of 13 percent in quarterly net income.

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Late on Thursday, Google reported earnings that missed expectations while revenue topped Wall Street estimates on Thursday.

European airline and insurance stocks fell on Friday due to the crash in Ukraine, and their U.S. equivalents will be worth watching once Wall Street opens.

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Market reaction to Ukraine, Israel concerns

The data docket features the University of Michigan flash consumer sentiment index for July, which is expected to nudge higher to the upper-end of the range of the past year-and-a-half. The Conference Board's latest leading indicators are also due.