Monday August 29th


US stock futures higher after inflation, spending data

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Monday, after the release of spending and inflation data. Personal spending for July rose 0.3 percent, in line with expectations, while the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index rose 0.1 percent. No major U.S. companies are due to report earnings on Monday. The U.S. dollar index against a basket of currencies edged higher on Monday, building on Friday's gains, which followed a speech from Fed chair Janet Yellen that was seen as opening the door on an interest-rate hike in September. The next major data peg for the Fed will be non-farm payrolls employment report for August on Friday. Yellen's comments and falling crude futures helped push European indexes lower early on Monday. The London Stock Exchange was shut for a public holiday. Japanese shares climbed on Monday, boosted by a weaker yen, while other Asian markets struggled after comments from U.S. central bankers on Friday suggested interest rates could be raised sooner than expected. The benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 376.78 points, or 2.30 percent, to 16,737.49, while the Topix added 25.34 points, or 1.97 percent, to 1,313.24. The rest of Asian markets were mostly lower. In South Korea, the Kospi closed down 5.15 points, or 0.25 percent, at 2,032.35. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was lower by 0.38 percent in afternoon trade. Chinese mainland shares moved little, with the Shanghai composite closing flat at 3,070.34, while the Shenzhen composite closed modestly up 4.05 points, or 0.2 percent, at 2,027.14. Oil fell towards $49 a barrel on Monday, pressured by high output from Middle East OPEC members and as a stronger U.S. dollar weighed on commodities. Iraq, which has exported more crude from its southern ports in August, will continue ramping up output, its oil minister said on Saturday. Top exporter Saudi Arabia has kept output at around record levels this month. Brent crude was 70 cents, or 1.4 percent, lower at $49.22 a barrel at 7:34 a.m. ET (1134 GMT). The global benchmark is down more than 6 percent from its 2016 peak of $52.86 reached on June 9. U.S. crude was down 65 cents, or 1.4 percent, at $46.99. Gold slid to a near five-week low on Monday after comments from top Federal Reserve officials fueled speculation that U.S. interest rates would rise sooner rather than later, weighing on the dollar. The CME Group's FedWatch tool showed the market pricing in more than a 30 percent chance of a hike in September, up from 18 percent before Yellen and her deputy Stanley Fischer spoke. Spot gold touched its lowest since July 26 at $1,314.70, and was down 0.1 percent at $1,319.86 an ounce. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were down $2.70 an ounce at $1,323.20.