US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher ahead of Yellen speech; spotlight on earnings

Reuters

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    * Yellen speech begins at 10 a.m. ET
    * Bank of America, Goldman Sachs rise on upbeat earnings
    * Halliburton up after higher sequential profit
    * Futures: Dow and S&P rise 0.68%, Nasdaq up 0.79% 

 (Adds comment; updates market prices)
    By Devik Jain and Medha Singh
    Jan 19 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher on
Tuesday after upbeat earnings from big U.S. banks and
Halliburton, while investors awaited a speech from U.S. Treasury
Secretary nominee Janet Yellen that is expected to advocate
hefty fiscal spending.
    Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc  GS.N  added 2.5% as its
fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, dwarfing estimates
after another blowout performance at its trading and
underwriting business.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2JU2Q0
    Bank of America  BAC.N  also topped fourth-quarter profit
estimates and joined JPMorgan  JPM.N , Citigroup Inc  C.N  and
Wells Fargo & Co  WFC.N  in releasing some cash reserves to
cover for coronavirus-driven loan losses, underscoring its
confidence in the economy.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2JU2MR
    Its shares, however, dropped 1.6% after a sharp climb over
the last two weeks.
    "The bank earnings is coming in better than expected and we
see investors respond favorably to the numbers," said Sam
Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.
    Earnings for S&P 500 companies are likely to decline 7.8% in
the fourth quarter of 2020 from a year ago, but are expected to
rebound in 2021, with a gain of 16.7% forecast for the first
quarter, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
    Wall Street's main indexes dropped on Friday as investors
booked profits after a recent rally to record highs on hopes of
speedy economic recovery fueled by a hefty fiscal stimulus
package and vaccine distribution.
    Yellen is set to testify to the Senate Finance Committee,
starting at 10 a.m. ET (1500 GMT), that the government must "act
big" with its next coronavirus aid plan.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2JT1NC
    President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn into office on
Wednesday, outlined a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal
last week to jump-start the economy.
    "Yellen did encourage that the U.S. should act on this
coronavirus relief bill. It seems it's the kind of package that
Wall Street is concluding will likely to pass both houses of the
Congress and therefore be put in to work pretty quickly."
Stovall added.
    Meanwhile, world stocks got a lift earlier in the day by
data showing China's economy was one of the few to grow over
2020, and actually picked up speed as the year closed.
 MKTS/GLOB 
    At 08:40 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis  1YMcv1  were up 208 points,
or 0.68%, S&P 500 E-minis  EScv1  were up 25.5 points, or 0.68%.
Nasdaq 100 E-minis  NQcv1  were up 101.5 points, or 0.79%.
    Tesla Inc  TSLA.O  gained 1.6% after Jefferies raised its
earnings estimates ahead of the electric-car makers'
fourth-quarter results next week.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2JU1SJ 
    Boeing Co  BA.N  added 1.5% as Canada said it would lift a
near two-year flight ban on its 737 MAX following two fatal
crashes involving the model while a final clearance from Europe
to resume flying the jet is expected next week.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2JT1HV urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2JU24J
    Halliburton Co  HAL.N  rose 2.7% after it posted a
better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, buoyed by cost cuts
and a recovery in demand for oilfield equipment and services
after last year's industry slump.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2JU2MT

 (Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing
by Bernard Orr and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)
 ((Devik.Jain@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780;
outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2062; ;))

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