Stock futures rise slightly as investors weigh cross currents of latest earnings

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Stock futures ticked higher Wednesday night as investors responded to a weak outlook from retail chain Target early in the day, and results from Nvidia and Cisco that landed after the market closed.

Investors are also anticipating more than half a dozen speakers from the Federal Reserve talking at events around the country Thursday.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 50 points or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures added 0.2%, while Nasdaq-100 futures rose 0.3%.

Retailer Bath & Body Works jumped more than 20% Wednesday after it beat revenue expectations and doubled what was anticipated for per-share earnings. Cisco was up more than 3% after the bell after beating both earnings and revenue estimates.

The latest moves followed a down day on Wall Street, the second in three days. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite fell 0.83% and 1.54%, respectively. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 39.09 points, or 0.12%.

Downward pressure emerged from weak guidance from Target, which reported a decline in sales as inflation pinches shoppers heading into the holiday season. The Minneapolis-based chain ended 13% lower, while its forward guidance cast doubt on other retailers.

Target followed better reports earlier in the week from Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart, which beat expectations and said inflation was not hitting them as hard.

“There’s an adjustment process that’s going on,” by companies, said Thomas Martin, senior portfolio manager at GLOBALT Investments. “I’m not saying that’s a reason to take no action in a portfolio, but trying to chase things usually ends up meaning you’re making a bad decision and then another bad decision and another bad decision.”

Investors will also watch tomorrow for weekly jobless claims, the latest reports on on October housing starts and building permits, and manufacturing surveys from the Philadelphia and Kansas City Federal Reserve banks.

Earnings season continues Thursday with additional retailers, including Macy’s and Kohl’s before the bell and Gap after.

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