Investing.com – U.S. futures pointed to a subdued opening bell despite a strong January as fears of a slowdown in China increased investor caution ahead of earnings from Google's parent company Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL).
Electronics giant Sony warned overnight that weakening global demand for smartphones could hit its chip and image sensor divisions this year, sending its stock down some 9%.
Stocks posted their best January in nearly 30 years as the market recovered from December’s steep sell-off, although signs of a slowdown in China, especially, hit Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) sales and other technology companies. Sony is a big supplier of components to Apple.
China’s slowdown, caused in part by U.S. trade tariffs, could hit Wall Street’s bottom line as many blue-chips rely on China for sales.
The S&P 500 futures were flat as of 6:40 AM ET (11:40 GMT) while Dow futures lost 1 points or 0.01%. Meanwhile tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures was flat.
On the earnings front, Sysco (NYSE:SYY), Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD), Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX) and Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) are expected to report results, along with Alphabet, which reports after the close. Clorox Co (NYSE:CLX) earlier reported earnings slightly above consensus for the three months to December.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) was among the top gainers in premarket trading, jumping 4.2% on a report that activist investor Starboard Value had taken a stake in it. BMS's shares fell sharply last month after it announced it wanted to buy cancer drug specialist Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) for $74 billion. The bid was criticised by some as too generous. Celgene's shares slumped 4.9% on fears Starboard may seek to revise the deal.
Meanwhile, General Electric (NYSE:GE) rose 0.88%. Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited (NYSE:HMY) was down 4.4% and Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) inched down 0.06%.
On a light day for data, investors are also looking ahead to factory orders figures for November at 10:00 AM (15:00 GMT).
In commodities, gold futures slipped 0.53% to $1,315.05 a troy ounce, while crude oil hit a two-month high overnight before edging back down $55.25 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.16% to 95.453.