Friday August 19th


US futures lower; oil eyed

U.S. stock index futures indicated a lower open on Friday as traders eyed the latest rig count data for more signs that U.S. production could pick up with rising crude prices. Baker Hughes' rig count is expected at 1 p.m. ET Friday. The rapid rise in oil prices defies many analysts' expectations, but it has been driven in part by comments from OPEC members and other producers about a meeting in late September that could involve discussion on freezing production or other actions. Brent crude traded at $50.62 a barrel on Friday, down 0.39 percent, while U.S. crude was unchanged at $48.09 a barrel, down 0.27 percent. On the earnings front, Deere and Estee Lauder posted quarterly results. In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 Index was down by around 0.72 percent on Friday. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed 0.36 percent higher on Friday, while in China the Shanghai Composite closed 0.15 percent higher. Gold fell on Friday for the first time this week as hawkish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials renewed bets on a U.S. rate hike this year, but was still on track to end the week with modest gains. Spot gold was down 0.74 percent at $1,341.90 per ounce, but was up for the week. U.S. gold dropped 0.8 percent to $1,346.30 an ounce.