HomeLatest NewsUpcoming Bank Profits, Updates on Microsoft-Activision Agreement

Upcoming Bank Profits, Updates on Microsoft-Activision Agreement

Bank Earnings, Microsoft-Activision Deal, and Market Movements

Stock Futures Mixed as Investors Await Bank Earnings and Analyze Inflation Data

U.S. stock futures showed a mixed trend as the final trading day of the week approached. Investors were eagerly anticipating the release of quarterly results from major Wall Street banks and carefully analyzing recent inflation data. The impact of elevated interest rates on the returns of JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup was expected to be a significant factor. Meanwhile, the approval of Microsoft’s restructured acquisition of Activision Blizzard by the U.K.’s competition regulator cleared the path for the closure of the gaming industry’s largest-ever deal.

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Futures Reflect Mixed Sentiment

Stock futures in New York presented a mixed picture on Friday as traders prepared for the release of major bank earnings and analyzed stronger-than-expected U.S. consumer price data. By 05:08 ET (09:08 GMT), the Dow Jones futures had gained 38 points or 0.1%, while Nasdaq futures remained mostly unchanged and S&P 500 futures dipped by 21 points or 0.1%. The previous session witnessed a decline in the main indices due to a surge in U.S. Treasury yields, raising concerns about higher-than-expected annual headline inflation and potential interest rate hikes.

Bank Earnings Take Center Stage

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Focus now shifts to the release of earnings reports from major Wall Street banks, marking the beginning of the quarterly corporate earnings season. JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup are set to report their financial performance. The recent rise in interest rates is expected to be a key area of focus as analysts express concerns about the impact on lending margins and loan demand. Investment banking firms like Goldman Sachs are also likely to face relative weakness in dealmaking. Global investment banking fees have dropped by approximately 17% in the third quarter compared to the same period last year.

Chinese Inflation Figures Fall Below Expectations

China’s consumer prices remained unexpectedly flat in September, intensifying concerns about persistent deflationary pressures in the world’s second-largest economy. Annual consumer prices recorded a 0.0% growth, cooling down from 0.1% in August, contrary to economists’ projection of a slight acceleration to 0.2%. Additionally, producer prices dropped by 2.5% compared to the previous year, slightly exceeding market expectations for a 2.4% fall. The data suggests ongoing challenges in China’s post-COVID recovery despite some signs of stabilizing activity.

Oil Prices Rise Amid U.S. Sanctions

Crude oil prices experienced an increase on Friday following the U.S.’ imposition of sanctions on owners of tankers carrying Russian oil priced above the G7’s cap of $60 a barrel. This move further tightens the global supply situation. The rise in oil prices overshadowed the news of a significant increase in U.S. oil stockpiles and record-high output from the world’s largest producer. By 05:10 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 3.0% higher at $85.41 a barrel, while Brent crude contracts climbed 2.9% to $88.46 a barrel. Both contracts are on track for weekly gains.

U.K. Competition Regulator Approves Microsoft-Activision Deal

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the U.K. has given the green light to Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. After almost two years of legal reviews, the approval allows the closure of the gaming industry’s largest-ever deal. To address concerns raised by the CMA, Activision will sell its cloud streaming rights to French video game group Ubisoft Entertainment. This prevents Microsoft from making Activision’s lucrative titles exclusive on its Xbox Cloud Gaming service, which could have led to dominance in the rapidly growing market. The deal is expected to be finalized by October 18.

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