Futures contracts linked to major U.S. stock indices rose overnight during Tuesday’s session as Wall Street pondered Microsoft’s earnings results and waited for similar updates from Apple, Facebook and Tesla on Wednesday.
Nasdaq 100 futures outperformed, up 93 points, or 0.74%. Dow futures added 30 points and S&P 500 futures rose 8.25 points, or 0.25%.
A handful of stocks, including software giant Microsoft, dominated trading during the extended session.
Microsoft investors were pleased with the company’s second quarter fiscal year performance, when it grew revenue 17% year over year. Contributing to the optimism of Microsoft’s earnings report was a leap into the company’s Intelligent Cloud entity, a segment that investors see as critical to the company’s future success.
Microsoft shares rose 4.6% in after-hours trading.
Investors are likely to hope that Microsoft – the second largest publicly traded company in the US, valued at $ 1.76 trillion – and its solid results herald similar successes from Apple, Facebook and Tesla. All three companies are expected to show profits on Wednesday after the closing bell.
Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, and Facebook make up four of the six largest companies in the U.S. by market capitalization, which means that fluctuations in stock price have an outsized impact on the performance of the broader S&P 500.
Also on the move was GameStop, the stationary video game retailer, whose share price is up 127% since trading closed last Friday.
GameStop, whose share price rose another 92% during the regular session, rose another 43% in after-hours trading.
Although the breathtaking rally for weeks is believed to have been primarily a function of a multi-day short squeeze, a timely tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk after the closing bell could have added to the hype surrounding the stock.
Musk, known for cheeky posts on Twitter, tweeted a link to the Reddit board that largely hyped GameStop stock in recent sessions.
Investors will also be closely monitoring comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who is expected to speak to reporters during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
The central bank chief is likely to explain how the Fed views the economic outlook and comment on what monetary policy action, if any, will be needed to help further stabilize the US economy.
Many investors hope Powell and his colleagues will stay away from the word “tapering,” the process by which the central bank would curb its monthly bond purchases, which has helped keep the cash financial system going and encouraged investors to do so To take risks despite the rich equity reviews.