US Markets

Futures lower; oil, earnings in focus


U.S. stock index futures indicated a lower open on Wall Street on Friday, as declines in oil prices weighed, amid the last of the week's financial earnings.

Citigroup posted first-quarter earnings per share of $1.10, falling 27 percent from $1.51 a share in the year-earlier period. Revenue for the quarter came in at $17.55 billion, against the comparable year-ago figure of $19.81 billion. However, both earnings and revenue topped expectations.

The stock spiked more than 2.5 percent in pre-market trade. A teleconference is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET.

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S&P-listed financial stocks have gained this week. Shares of Bank of America and Blackrock closed higher on Thursday, despite both posting profit declines. Wells Fargo, also reported a fall in quarterly profit on Thursday, and its shares closed down around 0.5 percent on the day.

On Friday, and WTI crude oil futures were off more than 2.5 percent in early morning trade, with WTI near $40.40 a barrel.

The main international focus is the meeting of oil-producing nations in Qatar on Sunday. The talks are aimed at freezing oil production levels in a bid to support crude prices, but the prospects for a deal are uncertain.

The U.S. dollar index was mildly lower, with the euro near $1.129 and the yen at 108.86 yen against the greenback.

Treasury yields edged lower, with the 2-year yield around 0.75 percent and the 10-year yield around 1.77 percent as of 8:07 a.m. ET.

Global stocks were lower, with major European indexes trading about half a percent lower. The Nikkei 225 ended 0.37 percent lower and the Shanghai composite closed 0.14 percent lower.

Overnight, official data showed China's gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 6.7 percent in the first quarter, a touch below the fourth-quarter's 6.8 percent rate.

Other data topped expectations. Retail sales edged up to 10.5 percent in March, while fixed-asset investment growth rose to 10.7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, Reuters said. Industrial output growth jumped to 6.8 percent from 5.4 percent.

Total social financing rose to 2.34 trillion yuan ($360.78 billion) in March from 780.2 billion yuan in February, Reuters said.

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The main U.S. economic data on Friday will be the preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey for April and industrial production numbers for March.

The Michigan survey is seen showing a slight rise in consumer confidence.

"Gasoline prices remain at a very low level by past standards, providing a continued boost to consumers' purchasing power. Furthermore, confidence should have benefited from the recent stabilization in equity prices, as well as the continued strength of labor market conditions," Andrew Hunter, an economist at Capital Economics, said in a note on Thursday.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey rose nine points in April to 9.6, its highest in more than a year.

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The spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will start on Friday in Washington D.C. and will be attended by central bank governors, finance ministers and government officials.

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