Stock futures advanced Tuesday morning as investors digested a slew of new earnings results that topped Wall Street’s expectations, suggesting more companies were able to work through ongoing supply chain challenges and still generate solid profits.
The Dow gained about 200 points, or 0.6%, with two hours until the opening bell. The Dow component The Travelers Companies (TRV) jumped in early trading to help boost the index, after the insurance company posted quarterly results that far exceeded expectations as underwriting revenue reached a record. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also headed toward a fifth straight day of gains.
Companies including consumer giants Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Procter & Gamble (PG) were among those to post quarterly results that exceeded estimates Tuesday morning, though the latter also flagged the impact of rising materials and shipping prices. P&G said it expected to see $2.3 billion in after-tax expenses during the current fiscal year due to rising commodity and freight costs.
The latest quarterly results, guidance and executive commentary from the broad array of companies still left to report are set to help illustrate the extent of how labor shortages, increasing input costs and lingering pandemic-related concerns have weighed on companies – and whether some firms have managed to more nimbly navigate this confluence of challenges.
“We’re dealing with supply chain challenges because of the unique situation that we’re in right now, where we’ve unleashed a lot of demand before businesses were really ready for it. That may persist for some time, drive volatility, raise some concerns,” Brian Levitt, Invesco global market strategist of North America, told Yahoo Finance Live on Monday. “But ultimately I think the supply-demand imbalances will moderate, enabling this cycle to move on further.”
“What you want to hear from businesses are those that continue to believe that demand is going to be strong, and continue to believe that they have some ability to work through the supply challenges and pass on some of those costs to consumers,” he added. “It’s not a rising tide that lifts all boats type of environment. It’s an economy that’s likely to slow some in here, and pricing pressures are going to be with us a bit … Those businesses that can pass on these costs are going to be the winners.”
The companies that have so far reported third-quarter earnings results — including the big U.S. banks and an assortment of other names like Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) — have largely posted better-than-expected profits. Heading into this week, 8% of S&P 500 companies had reported third-quarter results, and 80% of these firms topped consensus estimates, according to FactSet.
And as Savita Subramian, Bank of America’s head of U.S. and equity quant strategy, pointed out in a note on Monday, many of these companies had relatively little foreign sales exposure, or less than one-fifth of their overall revenue from international sources. Forthcoming earnings reports from companies with greater reliance international sales may provide an even more comprehensive view of the impact of the global supply chain challenges.
“Supply chain concerns are very, very real,” Wells Fargo CEO and President Charles Scharf told Yahoo Finance’s Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer during a panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday. “Inventory levels are down, and people are finding ways to compensate for that. So profit levels overall are very, very strong because people are raising prices, so there is inflation how long that goes on for we can debate, but it is very real.”
“The supply chain problems aren’t going to get solved overnight,” he added. “They will get solved, but until then, I certainly worry about the evenness of [whether] small businesses versus large businesses be able to continue on the same trajectory.”
8:30 a.m. ET: Housing starts unexpectedly declined in September to reach the lowest level since April
New homebuilding sank in September compared to August as labor scarcities and rising prices weighed on construction activity in the housing market.
Starts for new residential construction declined by 1.6% last month, the Commerce Department said in its monthly report Tuesday. This brought starts down to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.555 million, or the lowest in five months. August’s housing starts were also downwardly revised, with these rising by just 1.2% versus the 3.9% increase previously reported. Consensus economists expected housing starts to come in unchanged on a month-over-month basis.
Building permits, which serve as an indicator of future construction, sank by 7.7% in September over the prior month, whereas consensus economists were looking for a drop of just 2.4%. August’s building permits were also downwardly revised to show an increase of 5.6%, down from the 6.0% gain reported in the previous print.
7:33 a.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures extend gains
Here’s where markets were trading Tuesday morning: