Thursday November 12th


Wall Street looks to Fed speakers, jobs data

U.S. stock index futures indicated a lower open on Thursday as traders anticipated the release of jobs data as well as comments from a range of Federal Reserve speakers. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will make welcoming remarks at a Fed conference on post-crisis monetary policy in Washington at 9:30 a.m ET, although the official who might make more news is New York Fed President William Dudley. He will speak on the economic outlook at the New York Economics Club at midday and will be taking questions from the group. Fed officials have talked up the central bank's intention to raise interest rates in December if economic data are strong enough, and last week's monthly employment report gave them another shot of confidence. Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer also speaks at 6 p.m. ET at the Fed conference on monetary policy. His topic is the transmission of exchange rate changes to output and inflation. Other Fed speakers on Thursday include St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who will speak on the economy and policy at 9:05 a.m. ET at the Cato Institute's annual monetary conference. Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker will also speak at Cato at 9:45 a.m. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speaks at 10:15 a.m. at a National Communities Council conference. On the data front, initial claims are due at 8:30 a.m. ET, with JOLTS – or job opening and turnover data, a number watched by the Fed – following on at 10:00 a.m. On the earnings front, Kohl's and Viacom all reported before the bell. Cisco Systems, Petrobras, Applied Materials, Nordstrom, Blue Buffalo and El Pollo Loco are among the companies due to report after the bell. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was around 0.5 percent lower on Thursday as investors reacted to a speech by Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank. Draghi paved the way for further monetary easing in December by warning that signs of a sustained turnaround in core inflation had weakened. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei finished flat, while in China the Shanghai Composite closed 0.45 percent lower. Oil prices fell to a more than two-month low on Thursday as traders awaited a government report on U.S. crude stockpiles and after a sharp fall the previous day. Futures had earlier steadied as demand for gasoline and technical buying offset worries about a large global supply glut. Brent crude futures were down 48 cents at $45.33 by 7:51 a.m. EDT (1251 GMT) following a 3.4 percent fall on Wednesday. U.S. crude futures were at $42.49 a barrel, down 44 cents and near its lowest intraday level since Aug. 28. Gold edged off the previous session's one-month low on Thursday but remained depressed, awaiting more clarity on the outlook for U.S. monetary policy from Federal Reserve officials speaking later in the day. Spot gold was up 0.03 percent at $1,086.16 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up 90 cents an ounce at $1,085.80. The metal has shed nearly 5 percent of its value since the start of November, when an upbeat U.S. jobs report boosted expectations the Fed will hike interest rates this year. That would lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar. Investors remain wary of gold. Assets in the biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares fell to 663.43 tonnes this week, the lowest since September 2008.