Before the bell: What you need to know before the US market open

Billy Bambrough
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Italy's Monte dei Paschi styles itself as the world's oldest bank
Italy's Monte dei Paschi styles itself as the world's oldest bank (Source: Getty)

Apple sales are expected to fall sharply and Twitter is planning another round of job cuts.

Here's what you need to know before the US market open at 2:30pm London time.

US futures are pointing higher ahead of the open, though only slightly. The S&P is up by 0.09 per cent, the Nasdaq is 0.14 per cent higher, and the Dow is up by 0.09 per cent. The US 10-year yield is unchanged at 1.77 per cent.

Across Europe markets are mostly rising in early trading after Asia ended the day with mixed results.

Traders are closing watching the pound for any sudden movements ahead of Bank of England governor Mark Carney's appearance before parliaments' economic committee.

Is a bite about to be taken out of Apple?

Apple will announce its earnings for the fourth quarter night, ahead of a new MacBook launch later in the week.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at SpreadEx, said the earnings report "is likely to reflect the first annual iPhone sales decline in the company's history".

Read more: Apple's driverless car plans have totally veered off course

Morgan Stanley analysts issued a note recently saying they are expecting Apple's revenue to fall year-on-year.

The company's revenues are cyclical, with spikes during the festive season. The analysts predicted Apple will have clocked up 44m iPhone sales in the fourth quarter - four million fewer than last year - the third quarterly fall in a row.

Twitter could be axing more jobs

Twitter is preparing to unveil hundreds of jobs cuts prior to its third quarter earnings announcement on Thursday.

Up to 300 positions, or eight per cent of the work force, could be culled as the social media giant tries to stem losses that are currently running at $400m (£329m) per year.

Read more: Salesforce shares jump as boss unfollows Twitter, ruling out takeover bid

The group, which has hired investment banks to run a potential sales process, has failed to garner significant interest from potential suitors. The consensus view is that, for many, Twitter’s current market cap of £10.4bn makes it a too expensive proposition.

Stocks to watch

Italian bank Monte dei Paschi is planning to cut 2,600 jobs and close 500 branches as part of rescue plans aimed at building a "de-risked and well-capitalised bank".

Monte dei Paschi will cut the number of branches to 1,500 by 2019, from the 2,000 it currently owns. Meanwhile, the job cuts are expected to reduce personnel expenses by around nine per cent by 2019.

A managerial shake-up will also see the departure of finance chief Arturo Betunio, who steps down on 25 November.

The troubled bank's share price rocketed yesterday as investors waited to hear the recovery plan, and climbed over 23 per cent in this morning to hit €0.43.

Companies reporting

More companies reporting third quarter earnings than you can shake a stick at.

Before the open we have numbers from car makers General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, JetBlue Airways, mobile carrier Sprint, industrial machine supplier Caterpillar, sportswear label Under Armour, engineering giant Lockheed Martin, consumer goods firm Procter & Gamble, big pharma Merck, oil services group Baker Hughes, and white goods manufacturer Whirlpool.

After markets wrap up for the day, Apple will be the headline company, alongside online music company Pandora Media, Mexican fast food joint Chipotle, pharma firm Express Scripts, consumer tech group iRobot, and causal dining chain Panera Bread.

In economic news

Economic news is likely to get lost in the sea of corporate reports. The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index will be released just ahead of the market open and consumer confidence crosses the wires shortly after.

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