Microsoft brightens Wall St. mood as rate cut hopes rise By Reuters


By Medha Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures inched higher on Friday as strong results for Microsoft’s cloud business fed into a bullish mood following signs from New York Fed President John Williams that the U.S. central bank was set to cut interest rates this month.

Microsoft Corp (O:), now America’s most valuable company, gained 3.5% premarket, after it topped analysts’ estimates at the end of a week of mixed corporate results in the United States and Europe.

Williams’ comments that the Fed cannot wait for economic disaster to unfold on Thursday afternoon were behind the previous session’s positive close and they helped drive a raft of market moves on Friday.

Traders raised bets for a larger, half-percentage point cut in rates at the July 30-31 policy meeting to 46%, from a 23% chance a week ago, according to CME Group’s FedWatch program.

At 6:54 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 36 points, or 0.13%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 1 point, or 0.03% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 9.5 points, or 0.12%.

The main indexes have eased off all-time highs hit at the start of this week as some of the first batches of second quarter earnings releases pointed to a slowdown in growth under the shadow of U.S.-China trade talks.

Boeing Co (N:) rose 1.7% after disclosing it would take a $4.9 billion after-tax hit in the second quarter on estimated disruptions from the grounding of its 737 MAX passenger jets.

Morgan Stanley analyst Rajeev Lalwani said that was a sign that investors were comfortable with the size of the charge and Boeing’s production plans ahead of its results next week.

Shares of the world’s largest oilfield services provider Schlumberger NV (N:) also rose 1% as it announced better-than-expected revenue numbers and named company insider Olivier Le Peuch as new Chief Executive Officer.

American Express Co (N:) had gained 1.2% ahead of its own results release.

(Corrects typo in second paragraph)

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