October 13, 2017

Trump acts on health care; Bank earnings; Retail sales

1. Bank bonanza: Earnings season is now in full swing, with investors hearing from three big American banks on Friday.

Bank of America, PNC and Wells Fargo are all set to publish their quarterly results before the open.

Wells Fargo is expected to report healthy profits, but CEO Tim Sloan is likely to face tough questions about the bank's account fraud scandal. The controversy has spooked investors: while its competitors' shares have posted double digits gains this year, Wells Fargo has remained flat.

It's a different story at Bank of America, where shares topped $26 last week for the first time since the financial crisis.

On Thursday, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup both beat analyst expectations for their earnings.

2. Trump acts on health care: President Trump has taken a first step towards dismantling Obamacare by signing an executive order.

The order broadly tasks the administration with developing policies to increase health care competition and choice in order to improve the quality of health care and lower prices.

However, it could also destabilize Obamacare by siphoning out younger and healthier Americans from health care exchanges.

3. Data flow: The U.S. Census Bureau will release its retail sales report for September at 8:30 a.m. ET.

More data on how Americans are feeling will come at 10:00 a.m., when the University of Michigan releases its preliminary October consumer sentiment report.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its latest inflation data at 8:30 a.m.

4. Global market overview: U.S. stock futures were flat.

European markets opened mixed, while Asian markets ended the session mostly higher.

U.S. stocks backed away from record highs on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 0.1%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq dropped by 0.2%.

5. Company news: Shares in 21st Century Fox were poised to drop at the open after a shareholder group called for an overhaul of the company's board following recent sexual and racial harassment scandals at Fox News.

Samsung expects its profits in the quarter ended September to jump by almost 300% over the same period in 2016. The improvement was driven by strong sales from Samsung's semiconductor business, which supplies memory chips for rival phone makers including Apple.

The South Korean firm also announced the resignation of Kwon Oh-hyun, the co-CEO of Samsung Electronics.

6. Coming this week:

Friday -- Bank of America earnings; Wells Fargo earnings

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