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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, January 12, 2022.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

US stock futures were little changed on Monday night as traders braced for the latest batch of corporate earnings reports.

Futures linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 33 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 futures were up 0.1% and Nasdaq 100 futures were down marginally. US markets were closed on Monday due to the Martin Luther King holiday.

The abbreviated trading week will feature quarterly reports from 35 S&P 500 companies, including Bank of America, UnitedHealth and Netflix. Goldman Sachs will also release its latest quarterly figures on Tuesday before the bell.

Major banks Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup kicked off earnings season on Friday, with all three companies posting better-than-expected earnings. However, market reaction to those results was mixed. Wells Fargo shares posted a gain on those results, but JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup pulled back.

Overall, 26 S&P 500 companies have reported fourth calendar quarter earnings so far, according to Refinitiv. Of those companies, nearly 77% posted bottom line results that beat analysts’ expectations.

“The fourth quarter economic backdrop was positive, boding well for earnings and revenue growth,” Mark Haefele, CIO of UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a note last week. “Corporate guidance also appears to point to continued demand strength in 2022, even if omicron is interrupting some business at this time.”

The spread of the omicron variant Covid-19 has raised questions about the state of the global economic recovery since news of its discovery broke. Some countries and regions reinstated lockdowns and other social distancing measures to curb the outbreak.

However, recent data indicates that the spread may be slowing. In New York, the seven-day average of daily new cases has been falling since hitting a record earlier this month, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. In Maryland, daily infections are down 27% week over week. Cases are also falling in South Africa and the UK.

Rocky start to the year

Monday’s moves come as stocks have struggled to start 2022.

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite have all fallen for the year amid concerns about the recent rise in inflation and the prospect of tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker told CNBC last week that the central bank could raise rates three or four times this year. He pointed out that inflation is “more persistent than we thought a while ago.

Technology, the largest sector in the S&P 500 by market capitalization, has been hit especially hard this year, down more than 4%. Big tech names like Meta Platforms, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet and Apple have fallen to date.

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