Positive earnings boost futures after Monday's selloff

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Tuesday, helped by a slate of positive earnings, a day after the S&P 500 and the Dow Industrials logged their worst session in two years on worries over the worldwide spread of the virus.

Shares of Dow-member Home Depot Inc rose 2.5% in premarket trading after the home improvement chain beat quarterly sales and profit estimates. [nL5N2AP3WS]

Another upbeat report in the retail space was from department store operator Macy’s Inc, which jumped more than 5% after a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly same-store sales.

HP Inc gained 4% after the company said it would step up efforts to slash costs and buy back stock, as it seeks investor support to defend against a $35 billion takeover offer from U.S. printer maker Xerox Holdings Corp.

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The positive fourth-quarter earnings along with hopes of a limited damage from the outbreak had fueled Wall Street’s run to record highs until last week.

U.S. stock indexes have declined in the past three sessions with fears of a pandemic knocking off more than 3% on Monday after a flare up in infections in several countries. As of Monday’s close, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrials had erased their gains for the year.

At 7:43 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 118 points, or 0.42%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 12 points, or 0.37% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 59 points, or 0.65%. The CBOE volatility index, an options-based gauge of investor anxiety, was down 1.86 points after hitting its highest level since January 2019 on Monday.

Among other stocks, Perrigo jumped 10.6% after the drugmaker gained the first U.S. approval for a generic version of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd’s respiratory drug, ProAir.

Mastercard Inc shares fell 2.2% after the company said Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga will step down at the start of the next year and be replaced by products head Michael Miebach. Shares of rival Visa Inc dropped 1.3%.

Investors will also keep an eye on the Conference Board’s consumer confidence data for February, scheduled for 10:00 a.m. ET.

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