Equity futures lower slightly, investors weighing on trade optimism against signs of slowing global growth


Equity index futures edged down on Thursday, as investors suspected reports that US and Chinese traders were beginning to come up with an agreement to end a long-standing trade dispute with new data coming out of the market. And Japan, giving further evidence of slowing global growth.

What is the performance of the main benchmarks?

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average

YMH9, -0.18%

fell 38 points, or 0.2%, to 25,926, while the S & P 500's futures contracts

ESH9, -0.22%

lost 5.25 points, or 0.2%, to 2 782.25. Nasdaq-100

NQH9, -0.18%

increased by 7 points, or 0.1%, to 7,065.50.

Wall Street closed Wednesday with gains after the US Federal Reserve's January meeting showing that policymakers were divided on what would justify future rate hikes. The Dow

DJIA, + 0.24%

finished at 63.12 points, at 25,954.44, up 0.2%. The S & P 500

SPX, + 0.18%

increased by 4.94 points, or 0.2%, to 2,784.70. The Nasdaq composite

COMP + 0.03%

He recorded an increase of 2.3 points, or less than 0.1%, to end at 7 489.07, extending his series of victories to eight days.

What is the engine of the market?

US and Chinese negotiators have begun defining a trade deal, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing sources close to the talks. The report indicates that agreements in principle are being developed in six key areas: forced technology transfers and cyber-theft, intellectual property rights, services, the currency, agriculture and non-tariff barriers Trade.

Negotiators continued talks in Washington this week after a series of talks last week in Beijing. President Donald Trump said earlier this week that the deadline of March 1 was not a "magic" date, which was perceived by investors as a sign that tariffs on Chinese imports could do not increase automatically at this time if progress continues.

Fears of a slowdown in global growth were underscored by the release of data from European and Japanese surveys, which showed that the two manufacturing economies contracted in February, German manufacturers dependent on exports reporting the largest decline in activity recorded for more than six years.

Which Fed data and stakeholders are at the center?

Investors will be busy Thursday with a series of economic reports and Fed comments, starting with the speech of Atlanta Fed Chairman Raphael Bostic on the economic outlook and monetary policy, delivered Thursday morning.

At 8:30 am Eastern Time, the Labor Department will release its estimate of the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits during the week ended February 16th.

At the same time, investors will have a glimpse into the health of the US industrial sector and capital spending by US companies when the Commerce Department releases its report on durable goods and capital goods orders for December.

Also at 8:30, the US Federal Reserve in Philadelphia will release a new reading of the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index, which reviews the state of the manufacturing sector in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.

At 0945 Eastern Standard Time, Markit will publish its Purchasing Managers' Index for the US manufacturing and services sectors.

The National Association of Realtors will release an estimate of existing home sales for the month of January at 10 am

Also at that time, the Conference Board will publish its index of key economic indicators.

Which stocks are to watch?

Dow Component Shares Nike Inc.

NKE + 0.32%

Striker Zion Williamson of Duke University lost the cause of a knee injury just seconds after his match against North Carolina when his foot slipped to the ground and his Nike shoes have been dismantled. Nike's shares lost 1.6% in pre-market shares.

See: Duke's Zion Williamson blows his shoe, injured his knee and Nike gasps in horror

Avis Budget Group Inc.

CAR, -0.57%

Shares rebounded 10.5% in pre-market trading, after the company released its fourth quarter financial results on Wednesday night, which showed the car rental company was ahead of profit expectations.

Actions of Domino's Pizza Inc.

DPZ, -0.27%

were down 5.7% in pre-market after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings, sales, and sales per store below Wall Street expectations. The company increased its quarterly dividend by 18% to 65 cents per share, although the stock dividend yield remains below the S & P 500 average.

Newmont Mining Corp.

NMS + 2.49%

stocks were up 2.6% before the bell, after the gold miner had surpassed the fourth-quarter profit and sales forecast.

What do analysts say?

"The future is flat, more and more reports of an impending trade deal between the United States and China [have] offsetting disappointing economic data, "Sevens Report chairman Tom Essaye wrote in a note to customers on Thursday, citing Markit PMI surveys conducted in Europe and Japan, showing the contraction of the manufacturing sector in both economies.

Although several media have announced the establishment of a framework for an agreement, he warned, "we do not know if tariffs will be reduced."

How are other markets traded?

Asian equities were closed on Thursday, with Japan's Nikkei 225 gaining 0.2%, Shanghai Composite Index down 0.3% and Hong Hang Seng Index up 0.4% Kong.

In Europe, inventories fell slightly, the Stoxx Europe 600

SXXP, -0.30%

and the FTSE 100

UKX, -1.03%

are both losing ground.

In commodity markets, the price of oil

CLJ9, -0.24%

was slightly lower, while the price of

GCJ9, -0.68%

like falling too. Meanwhile, the value of the US dollar

DXY, -0.13%

was virtually unchanged.


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