Netflix earnings in focus.


Lionel Bonaventure/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Stock-index futures pointed to a flat start for equities Wednesday as investors monitored long-running stimulus talks and sifted through a stack of corporate earnings, including disappointing results from pandemic highflier Netflix Inc.

What are major benchmarks doing?

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average
YM00,
+0.05%

rose 5 points to 28,187, while S&P 500 futures
ES00,
+0.14%

were up 2.8 points, or less than 0.1%, at 3,435. Nasdaq-100 futures
NQ00,
+0.22%

were up 19.25 points or 0.2%, at 11,680.

The Dow DJIA on Tuesday rose 113.37 points, or 0.4%, to finish at 28,308.79, after rising as high as 28,575.03 earlier. The S&P 500 SPX added 16.2 points to end at 3,443.12, a gain of 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite COMP advanced 37.61 points or 0.3%, to 11,516.49.

What’s driving the market?

Stocks were buoyed Tuesday as talks over a stimulus plan between the Trump administration and House Democrats continued, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., waving off her self-imposed Tuesday deadline for a pre-election deal. Talks were set to continue on Wednesday.

The Republican-controlled Senate remains a potential sticking point, however, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reportedly still reluctant to take up a large spending proposal.

“Negotiations are set to continue today…and anything suggesting that Democrats and Republicans are leaning towards a deal may help further the broader market sentiment,” said Charalambos Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group, in a note. “quities are likely to gain some more, and safe havens to stay under selling interest.”

The analyst, however, said investors should continue to take developments day by day, warning that the continued rapid spread of COVID-19 could threaten the global economy if it forces further lockdowns. Investors might also be wary of pressing long positions as the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election draws near, he said.

Read: Why stock-market investors are beginning to focus on Biden’s narrowing lead over Trump

Related: Complacency warning? ‘Election premium’ in currency market collapses much like it did in 2016

Earnings season remains in full swing. Among the most closely watched names, results from Netflix Inc.
NFLX,
-0.99%

disappointed investors after Tuesday’s closing bell, reflecting a slowdown in new subscribers and a wide miss on earnings. Share were TK in premarket action, but have risen more than 60% in the year to date as pandemic lockdowns fueled demand for the streaming service. Shares were down more than 5% in premarket trade.

Several Fed officials are set to speak Wednesday, including Gov. Lael Brainard, who will deliver remarks on the economic outlook to the Society of Professional Economists in the U.K. at 8:50 a.m. Eastern.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester is slated to discuss the economic outlook at a conference in the U.K. at 10 a.m., while Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari talks about education at a Minnesota event at noon. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan is set to deliver a speech in Houston at noon.

The Fed’s Beige Book, a compilation of economic anecdotes, is scheduled for release t 2 p.m.

Which companies are in focus?

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