Dow futures down 100 pts; Disney results, Meta layoffs, midterm elections in focus

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By Peter Nurse

© Reuters Dow futures down 100 pts; Disney results, Meta layoffs, midterm elections in focus — U.S. stocks are seen opening marginally lower Wednesday, with weak results from entertainment giant Disney weighing while the political control of Congress remained uncertain.

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At 07:00 ET (12:00 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was down 100 points, or 0.3%, S&P 500 Futures traded 5 points, or 0.1%, lower, and Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 4 points, or 0.1%.

The main stock indices closed higher Tuesday, the third straight day of gains, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing over 300 points, or 1%, the broad-based S&P 500 gaining 0.6%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closing 0.5% higher.

Investors are carefully monitoring the results from the U.S. midterm elections given they have the potential to result in gridlock in Washington, making it harder for Democrat President Joe Biden to pursue his legislative agenda.

The opposition Republicans remain favorites to win a majority In the House of Representatives, which could allow them to prevent any additional tax increases and limit government spending.

The race for the Senate remains too close to call, with the pivotal battles in Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada still in play.

Away from politics, Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) stock traded sharply lower premarket after the mass media and entertainment giant suffered hefty losses from its push into streaming video.

Its streaming service, Disney+, reported 164.2 million subscribers in the fiscal fourth quarter, more than expected, but its direct-to-consumer unit, which also includes Hulu and ESPN+, lost $1.5 billion during the period.

On the flip side, Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) traded higher premarket after the Facebook-owner announced plans to lay off more than 11,000 employees, or 13% of its workforce, in an attempt to rein in rising costs.

There are more earnings to digest Wednesday, including from homebuilder DR Horton (NYSE:DHI), video game developer Roblox (NYSE:RBLX), and electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive (NASDAQ:RIVN).

The economic data slate is relatively empty Wednesday, with the main focus remaining Thursday’s U.S. consumer inflation release for October, which should provide guidance ahead of the Federal Reserve’s December policy-setting meeting.

Oil prices slipped Wednesday, as continued worries about Chinese demand in the wake of fresh COVID outbreaks, as well as a rise in U.S. crude stockpiles, weighed.

COVID-19 cases in the important manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, as well as a number of other Chinese cities, have surged recently, curtailing economic activity and thus demand for crude by the world’s largest importer.

Additionally, data from the American Petroleum Institute indicated U.S. crude oil inventories rose by about 5.6 million barrels last week, a larger than expected rise.

Official crude stocks data from the Energy Information Administration are due later in the session.

By 07:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.8% lower at $88.20 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.7% to $94.65.

Additionally, gold futures traded -0.3% lower at $1,711.65/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.0059.

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