Delta, BlackRock earnings — What you need to know in markets on Thursday

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

Mark Zuckerberg is done.

On Wednesday, the Facebook (FB) CEO wrapped up his second day of testimony on Capitol Hill.

Much like Tuesday’s session before the Senate, Zuckerberg faced questions from members of Congress on the company’s policy around user data, whether the platform is neutral or not, and if Facebook has plans to overhaul its terms of service to address gaps in its ability to protect user data, among other issues.

Facebook shareholders, however, were clearly not overly concerned with the tone of the proceedings in Washington, D.C., as shares of the company advanced both days, with Wednesday’s 0.8% advance coming amid a broad market decline.

On Thursday, markets will be keeping an eye, as always, on President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed and the rising tensions in the Middle East.

On Wednesday, reports that that a missile had been intercepted over Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, sent oil prices to their highest level since 2014, while Trump’s early morning tweet that said missiles “will be coming” to Syria after Russian officials said they would shoot down any missiles fired at the nation.

Trump’s tweet put stock futures under pressure before the market open, and stocks couldn’t get much momentum going during the trading day as each of the major indexes closed in the red.

On Thursday, markets will have a fairly modest economic calendar to contend with, as the weekly report on initial jobless claims and March’s data on import prices are set as the only major economic news. And the earnings schedule will pick up, with BlackRock (BLK) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) both set to report results.

Delta’s results are expected to show the company earned $0.72 per share in the first quarter on revenue of $9.9 billion, according to estimates from Bloomberg. Rising fuel costs and industry-wide pricing pressures are expected to be an investor focus in the release, which will be among the first major corporate reading on the first quarter.

Delta Air Lines earnings due out Thursday morning should help set the tone for markets. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

The Fed talks trade

On Wednesday, the minutes of the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting were released, giving markets an inside look at what Fed officials discussed at the meeting that saw the central bank vote to raise interest rates for the sixth time since the financial crisis.

And while Fed Chair Jerome Powell demurred at answering direct questions about whether Trump’s threats on trade would impact the Fed’s outlook for the economy, the minutes revealed that several FOMC members saw recent developments as a negative.

FILE- In this March 21, 2018, file photo, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington. The Federal Reserve releases minutes from the March meeting of its policymakers on Wednesday, April 11. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

A number of participants reported concern among their business contacts about the possible ramifications of the recent imposition of tariffs on imported steel and aluminum,” the minutes read. 

Participants did not see the steel and aluminum tariffs, by themselves, as likely to have a significant effect on the national economic outlook, but a strong majority of participants viewed the prospect of retaliatory trade actions by other countries, as well as other issues and uncertainties associated with trade policies, as downside risks for the U.S. economy. Contacts in the agricultural sector reported feeling particularly vulnerable to retaliation,” the minutes continued.

And so while trade actions haven’t changed the Fed’s economic outlook, it’s clear that Fed officials are viewing this change as a potential negative to the U.S. economic outlook.

The Fed’s economic projections released in March made clear that the tax cuts passed late last year by the Trump administration should have a marked and positive impact on economic growth.

How long this benefit is enjoyed, however, seems to have everything to do with what Trump does next.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

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