Friday September 24 th


Wall Street reacts to Yellen speech

U.S. stock index futures indicated a higher open on Friday as markets digested Thursday's speech from Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Yellen, who spoke after the market closed, may have slightly recalibrated expectations for a rate rise, by saying she personally anticipates a hike this year. Traders had hoped the speech would clarify the central bank's position on rate hikes, after last week's FOMC meeting and a week of volatile markets. The Fed chair said it would likely be appropriate to raise rates from near zero "sometime later this year," though the decision would continue to rely on economic data. In her comments last week, she had not identified herself as part of the group favoring rate hikes this year, but she had made a similar comment during the summer. Dow futures traded about 210 points higher after briefly gaining 250 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also indicated a higher open. On the data front, the second revision for second-quarter GDP came in at 3.9 percent. GDP was expected to show growth at 3.7 percent. Consumer sentiment is due to be released at 10:00 a.m. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was about 3 percent higher on Friday morning, with Yellen's speech helping to ease concerns over the health of the global economy. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite index closed down 1.62 percent, while Japan's Nikkei finished 1.76 percent higher. On the earnings front, BlackBerry and Finish Line both posted results before the bell. Oil prices were steady at about $48 per barrel on Friday, pressured by a rise in the dollar, weak consumer data from Japan and after analysts from Standard & Poor's ratings cut their oil price assumptions. Globally traded Brent futures were at $48.38 per barrel at 7:55 a.m. EDT (1155 GMT), up 21 cents from their last close and erasing earlier Friday gains. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $45.35 a barrel, up 44 cents. Gold fell from one-month highs on Friday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen kept the door open to a hike in interest rates later this year, sparking a rally in the dollar. Spot gold was down 0.89 percent at $1,143 an ounce, having climbed 2.1 percent on Thursday, its biggest one-day rise since January. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were down $10.80 an ounce at $1,143.20.