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U.S. stock futures headed slightly higher after Goldman Sachs and other large companies reported earnings that beat consensus forecasts.

Dow futures rose 36 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 12,176, while S&P 500 futures gained 2.7 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 1,303.80.

Shares of Goldman, the world's largest investment bank, rose 2 per cent in premarket trading after it reported a drop in first-quarter profit because it made less money from trading bonds for clients.

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Its profit to common shareholders was $908-million (U.S.), or $1.56 a share, compared with $3.3-billion, or $5.59 a share, in the same quarter a year ago. Excluding dividend payments of $1.64-billion, its earnings per common share were $4.38, beating estimates of $3.95 from analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Also reporting earnings before the market opened was State Street Corp. , one of the world's largest institutional investors. It said quarterly operating earnings rose as improved financial markets helped boost custody servicing and asset management fees.

The company, which earns the bulk of its revenue for services like record-keeping for mutual and hedge funds, said that excluding special items, earnings rose to $444-million, or 88 cents a share, from $371-million, or 75 cents a share, year earlier. Analysts had expected 86 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Health care giant Johnson & Johnson said sales rebounded but its profit dropped 23 per cent in the first quarter, due to higher expenses, costs of recalls and litigation and a tax gain that boosted results a year ago. Its adjusted earnings topped expectations. J&J also raised its full-year earnings outlook.

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About the Author
Deputy head of Audience

Sonali Verma is deputy head of audience at the Globe and Mail. She is a business journalist with more than 20 years of experience, mainly in digital media.She was previously the Globe and Mail’s senior editor in charge of audience engagement, overseeing its homepages as well as social media operations. More

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