Wall Street set to open lower as earnings gather pace

A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were on track to open slightly lower on Tuesday as investors weighed quarterly earnings and a possible delay in tax reforms, while keeping an eye on global politics.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Financial Times on Monday that the Trump administration’s timetable for tax reform was probably delayed following setbacks in negotiations with Congress over healthcare.

Mnuchin’s statement added to concerns about President Donald Trump’s ability to deliver on his promises to cut taxes and simplify regulations – bets on which U.S. stocks have hit record highs since his election.

A raft of quarterly earnings from corporate heavyweights is expected to keep investors busy. Goldman Sachs <GS.N> shares sank 3.4 percent in premarket trading after the bank reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit due to weak trading revenue.

Bank of America <BAC.N> inched up 1.2 percent after the company reported a strong jump in quarterly profit.

Shares of Morgan Stanley <MS.N>, Wells Fargo <WFC.N> and JPMorgan <JPM.N> were trading lower.

“The key for the market is still earnings, economic growth etc, and politics is merely a daily side show,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago, Illinois.

Dow e-minis <1YMc1> were down 63 points, or 0.31 percent at 8:32 a.m. ET, with 37,433 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis <ESc1> were down 6.75 points, or 0.29 percent, with 189,256 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis <NQc1> were down 12 points, or 0.22 percent, on volume of 33,948 contracts.

Safe-havens continued to be in favor ahead of crucial presidential elections in France and rising tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Adding to uncertainties, British Prime Minister Theresa May called for an early election on June 8 to guarantee political stability as the country negotiates its way out of the European Union.

Gold prices hovered close to five-month highs, while the dollar dipped.

Wall Street had closed higher in very thin trading volumes on Monday as investors bought technology and bank stocks.

Shares of Dow component UnitedHealth <UNH.N> rose 1.7 percent to $170.01 after the health insurer reported better-than-expected quarterly results and raised its profit and revenue forecast for the year.

Johnson & Johnson <JNJ.N> was down 1.3 percent at $124.10 after the healthcare conglomerate reported quarterly revenue that missed analysts’ expectations.

Netflix <NFLX.O>, the first of the FANG stocks to report, was up 1.4 percent at $149.24 after the video streaming service

provider reported weaker-than-expected subscriber numbers in the first quarter, but forecast strong growth in the current quarter.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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