Friday August 21st


Wall Street poised for another down day

After a torrid day on Wall Street Thursday, the worst to hit the markets in 18 months, U.S. stock index futures were pointing to another lower open on Friday. The Dow futures were off 80 points, indicating a milder extension of Thursday's plunge. Stocks sold off Thursday with the Dow down 358 points to 16,990 and the S&P 500 off 43, or 2.1 percent to 2,035. The selling was fueled by global growth concerns and uncertainty about when the Fed will move to raise interest rates. In Asia, Friday morning saw the Shanghai Composite slide 4.3 percent after disappointing data from China. European markets also plunged, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 as much as 1.2 percent lower after the open amid worries over China and also Greece, where Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned and called snap elections, expected to take place in September. The only U.S. data out Friday is the manufacturing PMI report at 9:45 a.m. ET. The dollar traded mixed, stronger against emerging market currencies and weaker against the euro, which crept towards $1.13. On the earnings front, Deere and Foot Locker reported results before markets open. Asian equities slid deeper into negative territory on Friday, joining a global sell-off sparked by jitters concerning the world's second-largest economy. Nikkei slumps 3%. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell below the key 20,000 level after chalking up a four-day losing streak. U.S. oil prices headed for their eighth consecutive week of falls on Friday, the longest losing streak since 1986, after a sharp drop in Chinese manufacturing increased worries over the health of the world's biggest energy consumer. Both global oil benchmarks are near 6-1/2-year lows, with U.S. crude heading for its longest weekly losing streak in 29 years. In late 1985, oil prices slumped to $10 from around $30 over five months as OPEC raised output to regain market share following an increase in non-OPEC production. U.S. crude for October delivery was 1.21 percent lower at $40.82 a barrel by 8:47 a.m. ET. On Thursday, the September U.S. crude contract saw its lowest intraday trade since March 2009 at $40.21 a barrel before it expired at the market close. Brent oil was on track for its seventh weekly decline in eight, down 1.82 percent at $45.77 a barrel, after settling 54 cents lower on Thursday. Gold steadied on Friday after a rally to six-week highs ran out of steam, but it remained on track for the biggest weekly rise since mid-January as more bad economic data from China battered financial markets. Gold had already rebounded this week from July's 5-1/2 year low, boosted by minutes of the Fed's last policy meeting, which dented expectations for an imminent rise in U.S. rates. Spot gold hit a peak of $1,168.40 an ounce and was at $1,155, little changed from late Thursday and up 3.5 percent on the week. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up $2 at $1,155.20.