US markets set to open lower with earnings from Macy’s and Cisco ahead

US markets look set to open a tad lower today as markets consolidate following two days of fresh new highs for the S&P 500. Earnings from big ticket retailer Macy’s as well as Dow heavyweight Cisco are likely to determine if the S&P 500 can make it a third day of new intraday highs. Futures suggest the S&P500 will open 1 point lower at 1,896 with the Dow Jones expected to open 15 points lower at 16,700. Approaching the end of US earnings season, the fresh highs in the Dow and S&P 500 suggest investors are generally pleased with what they’ve seen. Although earnings growth was slower than the previous quarter, this was largely anticipated. The general feeling is that the Fed still has the market’s back, if economic growth picks up again then that should be good for earnings but if it doesn't the Fed will keep monetary policy easier for longer. $1,900 could prove a bit of a hurdle for the S&P 500 in the short term as a lot of longer term investors use these round numbers as a guide for profit taking or even shorting stocks especially in the light of the weak Q1 GDP number. Macy’s report earnings before the bell with expected earnings per share of 59c on revenue of $6.46bn for the quarter. The retailer had predicted the first quarter will be slow describing the retail environment as “very promotional” while forecasting a pick up in the 2nd quarter. With the weak April retail sales number at just 0.1% still fresh in investor’s minds; a revision down in Macy’s 2014 guidance could sink the stock. Cisco report earnings after the bell and is expected to earn 48c per share on $11.38bn. Big players IBM and Oracle as well as the likes of Amazon and its cloud services have reduced Cisco’s market share in its core networking business. The metric worth following will be Cisco’s revenue growth in areas outside of networking as a wider-range of services is needed to attract customers wanting their data/internet solutions under one roof. With expectations dampened and the company having beaten estimates in the last four quarters, despite a challenging environment the company still has a good chance of coming out ahead.