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Stocks - Wall Street to Push Higher; Netflix, IBM Gain

By Peter Nurse

Investing.com - U.S. stock markets are set to open higher Wednesday, as Wall Street reacts to the more positive tone seen in Asia as concerns over the new pneumonia-like virus in China ease.

At 7:00 AM ET (1200 GMT), futures for the S&P 500 traded 13 points, or 0.4%, higher, futures for the Nasdaq 100 rose 62 points, or 0.7%, higher, while the Dow futures contract rose 91 points, or 0.3%.

Earlier Wednesday, authorities in Beijing said the country will start a nationwide screening effort to tackle the outbreak as public health officials confirmed more than 400 cases of the illness, with the death toll rising to nine.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed 1.1% higher, Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7% and Shanghai blue chips 0.3%.

President Donald Trump, speaking to CNBC at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, also played down the significance of the coronavirus outbreak. He said he had been briefed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and wasn't worried it would turn into a pandemic.

President Trump also took a shot at the World Trade Organization, the intergovernmental organization concerned with the regulation of international trade, and expressed confidence that the U.S. will agree a new trade agreement with Europe, citing the threat of auto tariffs.

“We started to see some clarity and with that certainty, and we think that’s good for business,” said Elie Maalouf, chief executive of InterContinental Hotels Group’s Americas region, in an interview with MarketWatch at Davos.

“Business and industry prefer certainty to uncertainty. The uncertainty over a period of time was something we were looking to overcome. With the recent agreements, one on the U.S.-China front and now on the U.S.-Canada-Mexico front, we see those tensions moderating, clarity is emerging, we also see clarity in the U.K. with resolution on Brexit.”

In corporate news, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) will be in the spotlight after the streaming giant announced after the close Tuesday that its U.S. subscriber growth disappointed again in its final quarter but overseas expansion impressed. Its shares climbed over 2% premarket.

Shares in IBM (NYSE:IBM) rose 3.8% premarket are late Tuesday finally reported a quarterly rise in revenue after 20 straight declines.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) posted fourth-quarter earnings with profit beating Wall Street’s expectations but missing slightly on revenue. Shares dropped 1.5% in premarket.

AT 02:05 AM ET (0705 GMT), U.S. crude futures traded 0.6% lower at $58.06 and the international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.6% to $64.22. Gold futures for February delivery on New York’s COMEX dropped 0.1% to $1,555.75.

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