Futures Slide On Ugly Microsoft Outlook, Renewed War Escalation Fears

ES%202023 01 25 7 18 19

bY TYLER DURDEN at zerohedge.com

US equity futures slumped on Wednesday after Microsoft started off the tech giants’ earnings parade by pulling off the old pump and dump, first jumping on Azure/Cloud results which beat estimates, but then erasing all gains and slumping during the company’s conference call after the company’s guidance disappointed, forecasting slower earnings and weaker demand (separately, hours later customers reported difficulties across multiple regions in accessing Microsoft 365 services, which the company attributed to networking issues). Earnings reports from companies such 3M, Boeing and chipmaker Texas Instruments also reinforced concerns about the health of corporate America and added to investors’ jitters as they await updates from the likes of Tesla and IBM. Fears also grew that a decision to send German and US tanks to Ukraine would provoke an escalation in the war.

As a result, contracts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 1.3% at 7:15 a.m. ET while S&P 500 futures dropped 0.8%, and traded right around 4,000. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed, leading to mixed trading in Group-of-10 currencies. Treasuries edged higher, mirroring gains in most UK and German government bonds. Brent crude was little changed, while gold and Bitcoin fell.

In premarket trading, all eyes were on Microsoft which fell after saying revenue growth in its Azure cloud-computing business will decelerate in the current period and warned of a further slowdown in corporate software sales. Amazon and Alphabet also fell in sympathy, dragging other cloud stocks lower (Amazon.com -1.6% and Alphabet -1.1%; Snowflake -3.1%, Datadog -4.0%, Adobe  -1.4). Texas Instruments suffered its first sales decline since 2020 and gave a tepid forecast for the current quarter. Microsoft comprises about 12% of the Nasdaq 100, while Texas Instruments has a weighting of 1.4%. Here are other notable premarket movers:

  • Enphase Energy (ENPH US) declines 4% after it was cut to neutral from overweight at Piper Sandler as demand for residential solar loans dipped more than the broker expected.
  • Precigen (PGEN US) drops 16% after an offering of shares priced at $1.75 apiece, representing a 20% discount to the last close. Proceeds to be used to fund the development of product candidates and for other general corporate purposes.
  • Block (SQ US) declines 4% as Oppenheimer cuts the stock to market perform from outperform, saying the firm looks less defensively-positioned than other payments names.
  • Intuitive Surgical’s (ISRG US) falls 8.9% as the medical tech firm’s quarterly results are overshadowed by the company saying it won’t launch a new multiport robotic system in FY23, which analysts say removes a positive catalyst for the stock.
  • Capital One’s (COF US) slumps 3.3% following the release of results. Its earnings slightly missed expectations and analysts flag a quicker-than-expected acceleration in net charge-offs for the company.
  • Keep an eye on Stryker (SYK US) as it was initiated by KeyBanc at sector weight, which says the US med-tech firm’s valuation “reflects an above-average growth rate with some risk of mean reversion over time.”

A weak earnings outlook, fears of US recession as well as the potential escalation in the Ukraine-Russia war were all contributing to the market pullback, according to Kenneth Broux, a strategist at Societe Generale. “The market is definitely worried about slowing earnings growth especially on tech, so there has been a sense the market wants to keep selling tech and the dollar,” Broux said. “But a huge tail risk now is what happens in Ukraine, if there is an escalation in the conflict and Europe gets drawn into the conflict.”


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