US stocks: four big stories to mull over before New York opens

Investors are chewing over the full implications of the Swiss National Bank's decision ahead of trading in New York.


Earnings at Bank of America Merrill Lynch disappointed

US stocks look set to fall at open as frazzled investors continue to assess the full implications of the Swiss central bank abandoning the Swiss franc's peg to the euro yesterday (catch up on all the background here).

Late morning, futures were indicating that the Dow would kick off around 70 points lower, with the S&P 500 off roughly ten points.

Here are the key things that will exercise New York in early action:

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Forex firms feeling the pain after Swiss franc shocker: As we reported this morning, forex brokers worldwide have been hurt by the Swiss move. Alpari is one high-profile forex firm to have to been forced to shut down. Others such asIG Group and FXCM are nursing big losses.

Investors sweat ahead of big earnings week: The slump in December US retail sales and diving copper prices have done nothing to ease investor worries heading into the big week of the fourth quarter earnings season.

The major banks are a particular concern. Yesterday, Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch spooked investors by posting disappointing fourth-quarter earnings with profits down substantially on the year. Today, all eyes will be on Goldman Sachs as it enlightens on fourth-quarter performance.

Elsewhere, computer giant Intel could be a bright spot. After the closing bell yesterday it posted much better than expected fourth-quarter earnings, with revenues ahead by more than 6% year-over-year.

Google needs to polish its glass a lot more: Google has halted trial sales of its Google Glass' smart eyewear. The technology was being developed to deliver news, messages and calls directly to a user's field of view by means of a smart headset.

But disappointingly modest trial sales have been compounded by concerns over privacy with some US bars and restaurants banning the eyewear, and users earning the nickname 'glassholes'.

Oil's not well with Schlumberger: The oil services giant shocked after hours yesterday by announcing it will be cutting 9,000 jobs roughly 7% of its workforce due to falling commodity prices.

Reporting its fourth-quarter result for 2015, Schlumberger took charges totaling $1.77bn pre-tax, including $296m for job cuts and $806m for writing down the value of some of its offshore seismic surveying vessels.

Kam Patel

Kam is a former deputy editor at Hemscott Invest and online editor, City A.M and he was also previously the Digital Editor at IFA Magazine. Kam is currently a senior journalist at The Global Treasurer and contributes to MoneyWeek. Kam shares expertise on the FTSE 100, investing and global stocks.