Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Friday, July 26:



1. Slowdown expected for American economy

The Bureau of Economic Analysis will report its preliminary reading on second-quarter GDP at 8:30 AM ET (12:30 GMT) Friday, with growth forecast to slow to 1.8%, the weakest reading in more than two years, from 3.1% in the first three months of the year.

The slowdown - which comes amid a 10-year economic expansion, the longest in history - is plagued by rising risks to the outlook, including trade conflicts and slowing global growth, all of which has led to expectations that the Federal Reserve will step in next week with a quarter-point cut to interest rates.

A worse-than-expected number could drive U.S. stocks higher as markets would interpret the reading as ammunition for the Fed to take an even more aggressive stance on policy easing.

A much stronger-than-expected rise in durable goods orders released on Thursday diminished the odds for a larger 50 basis-point cut on July 31 to just above 20%. Following July’s expected reduction, Fed funds futures priced in additional 25 basis point cuts in both September and December.

Although the focus will be on GDP, the University of Michigan will release its preliminary reading of consumer sentiment for July at 10:00 AM ET (14:00 GMT).


2. Alphabet, Intel wow while Amazon disappoints; Starbucks jumps

Quarterly earnings released after the prior market close will be priced in on Friday with Alphabet and Intel set to boost techs, while Amazon missed the mark.

Google parent Alphabet's shares (NASDAQ:GOOGL) soared more than 8% in premarket trade following a quarterly report that beat on the top and bottom lines. The tech giant also eased investor concerns over increased regulatory scrutiny, saying that it was nothing it hadn’t seen before.

A 5% jump in shares of Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) should support the chip sector after solid numbers and an increased revenue forecast. (NASDAQ:AMZN) was the exception to the positive news, with shares off 1.5%, as profit missed consensus and the company warned on third-quarter operating income.

Outside of tech, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) delivered as comparable sales beat estimates and the company raised its annual profit forecast. Shares soared more than 6%.


3. Twitter, McDonald’s to take up earnings baton

Earnings season has yet to reach the halfway mark with only 42% of S&P 500 firms having so far released quarterly numbers as of Thursday’s close. 76% of those companies have beat profit expectations with growth of 5.5% while 63% have topped sales estimates with 4.7% growth, according to The Earnings Scout.

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) will pick up the earnings baton for tech companies as it reportsahead of the open.

Average monetizable daily active users (mDAU) will be one of the closely watched metrics after the company reported an 11% rise to 134 million in the first quarter.

Any forward guidance will also be in focus as the threat of regulatory scrutiny is on the rise.

McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) will be in the spotlight as the only Dow company to reportahead of the bell with market focus centered on same-store sales.


4. Apple confirms $1 billion purchase of Intel’s modem business

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) confirmed reports that it was on its way to becoming self-reliant in smartphone chips as it picked up the majority of Intel’s modem business in a deal valued at $1 billion.

Modem chips connect devices like the iPhone to wireless data networks, but Apple has always relied on outside suppliers for the part.

The deal with Intel will bolster Apple's goal to make its own modem chip, closing in on two of its biggest global rivals - Samsung Electronics (KS:005930) and Huawei - that already have the ability to self-supply modem chips.


5. U.S. futures receive boost from earnings ahead of GDP

Mostly upbeat earnings reports were sufficient to return risk appetite to U.S. markets with tech shares leading gains. Wall Street took a dip on Thursday with blame attributed to the better-than-forecast durable goods orders that reduced expectations for more aggressive policy easing from the Fed.

Second-quarter GDP data will likely be the final piece of the puzzle to fit into speculation over just how dovish the Fed will be next week and focus may well fall on U.S. President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

Trump has been outspoken in his criticism of the Fed for raising rates too fast and not recognizing the need for faster easing, arguing that economic growth would be much higher and the “very misguided” central bank should “move now”.

Trump’s last tweet on Thursday announced the expected passage of the budget deal.


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