Wall Street indexes oscillated between small gains and losses on Wednesday, with investors shifting focus towards corporate earnings and oil inventories as the agenda remained clear.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped nearly 50 points, while the S&P 500 held just below breakeven as financials plunged by more than 1 percent during the session. The Nasdaq composite showed no relevant changes.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: +0.18 percent / 20,054.34 points
Standard & Poor’s 500: +0.07 percent / 2,294.67 points
Nasdaq Composite: +0.15 percent / 5,682.45 points
On the earnings front, pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline reporter better-than-expected annual earnings. The London-based firm said profits were up 36 percent compared to the previous period, leaving earnings at $9.7 billion for 2016. However, the company took a moderate position when talking about this year, saying that political uncertainty over regulation in the United States could cause troubles for its asthma drug Advair.
Another company posting big results was entertainment conglomerate Time Warner, house of HBO and Warner Bros studios. According to the company, revenues jumped 11 percent to $7.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016. Net income was $317 million and earnings per share came in at $1.25, rising 18 percent from a prior $1.06 per share. Wall Street players had forecasted $1.19 a share on $7.72 billion earnings. It’s relevant to mention that Time Warner is currently negotiating a $85.4 billion merger with telecom giant AT&T.
As the data front was empty, investors paid especial attention to the release of the US Energy Information Administration on crude inventories. The agency said crude stockpiles added 13.8 million barrels in the week ended February 3. This massive build, anticipated by the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday, put oil prices under significant pressure as growing US shale production is threatening to derail OPEC and non-OPEC efforts to rebalance the oil market.
Thursday is going to be a light day for economic reports, and market participants will probably focus on initial jobless claims at 13:30 GMT, with analysts pointing at 250,000 applications.