Tuesday June 7th


US futures higher after upbeat Yellen remarks

U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a higher open Tuesday, tracking gains in Europe and Asia where upbeat comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on the U.S. economy gave markets a lift. U.S. stocks closed higher Monday, with energy leading as oil rose, after the comments from Yellen. She omitted specific reference to the timing of a rate hike in her midday remarks at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia but said the Fed funds rate probably needs to rise gradually over time. Revised U.S. productivity showed a decline of 0.6 percent in the first quarter, while unit labor costs rose 4.5 percent. Consumer credit data is released at 3 p.m. In stocks news, embattled drugmaker Valeant reported first-quarter earnings and the stock fell more than 10 percent in the premarket. Yahoo shares were down 1 percent in premarket trade after the Wall Street Journal, citing a person familiar with the matter, reported Verizon Communications planned to submit a second-round bid of $3 billion for Yahoo's core internet business. Sarepta shares were up 30 percent in pre-market trade after the group said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had requested more data from a study for its muscle-wasting treatment. Investors hoped the agency would approve the drug. Also in focus after raising its quarterly dividend by 60 percent to 40 cents per share was Fedex, while United Natural Foods raised its full-year outlook.Markets in Asia closed higher on Tuesday, taking a generally positive view of comments from U.S. Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen and from on-hold calls from central banks in Australia and India. The Nikkei 225 wavered between gains and losses before closing up 95.42 points, or 0.58 percent, at 16,675.45, getting a boost from a slightly weaker yen. On Monday, the index had closed down 0.37 percent. Chinese mainland markets erased most of their morning losses, with the Shanghai composite finishing nearly flat at 2,936.20, and the Shenzhen composite adding 4.75 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,924.87. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 1.3 percent as of 3:01 p.m. HK/SIN time. Brent crude hovered near an eight-month high on Tuesday as Nigerian oil infrastructure attacks and projections for falling U.S. crude inventories bolstered market sentiment. Brent crude for August delivery was up 55 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $51.10 a barrel by 7:31 a.m. ET (1131 GMT), after touching its highest intraday level since Oct. 12. U.S. crude for July delivery rose 63 cents to $50.32 a barrel, also hitting a 2016 high going back to October. Gold eased on Tuesday as investors turned cautious after the metal failed to sustain a recent rally, though it held near the previous day's two-week high after the Federal Reserve further dampened speculation about an imminent U.S. rate rise. Spot gold was down 0.6 percent at $1,237.26 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for June delivery were down $7.70 an ounce at $1,239.80. It hit its highest since May 24 on Monday at $1,248.40.