Tuesday March 1st


Wall Street looks to a strong start for March

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a sharply higher open on Tuesday, with Dow futures over 100 points higher in pre-market trading on the first day of March, which is historically a strong month for stocks. March and April have been decent months for stocks in the past, with the S&P 500 generally posting its best two-month gain — an average 2.66 percent — over the March and April period. U.S. oil pared gains to trade about 1.5 percent higher above $34 a barrel Tuesday morning ahead of a major data-packed week, with the February manufacturing and final manufacturing PMI surveys due along with vehicle sales figures for the same month. ISM manufacturing data is expected at 10 a.m. ET,. ISM is expected at 48.8, from 48.2 in January. A number under 50 shows contraction. Monthly vehicle sales should remain strong — estimated at as high as a 17.7 million annual selling rate in February. Tuesday is also "Super Tuesday," when 12 states hold primary elections, and it could be a major turning point for presidential candidates in both parties. Major earnings on Tuesday include Barclays, which saw its U.K.-listed shares tumble some 10 percent after it announced further restructuring, a dividend cut and an 8 percent fall in statutory pre-tax profit last year to £2.1 billion ($2.9 billion). Medtronic, AutoZone, JD.com, Kate Spade and Luxottica Group are due to report before the U.S. market open. European markets traded higher Tuesday after starting the day in negative territory, shrugging off a survey showing another slump in China's manufacturing sector. Major Asian markets traded higher Tuesday,digesting the surprise move by China's central bank to cut banks' reserve requirement ratio (RRR) to free up liquidity, and shrugging off fresh negative economic data from the mainland. Chinese stocks ended higher after the RRR cut and worse-than-expected manufacturing data, with the Shanghai composite closing up 1.7 percent, while the Shenzhen composite finished up over 2 percent higher. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 retraced losses of over 1 percent to close up 58.75 points, or 0.37 percent, at 16,085.51. The South Korean market is closed for a public holiday. Oil prices edged higher on Tuesday after China's surprise monetary policy easing stoked expectations for higher oil demand from the world's largest commodities consumer and signs emerged that a global supply glut was starting to deflate. Benchmark Brent crude futures were up 22 cents at $36.79 per barrel by 9 a.m. ET (1400 GMT), U.S. crude futures were trading up 44 cents at $34.19 per barrel. Prices are up 30 percent from Feb. 11, when the contract dropped to an intra-day low of $26.05 a barrel, the lowest since 2003. Gold rose on Tuesday, building on its biggest monthly gain in four years, as concerns over the global economy after downbeat data from China and the United States fueled interest in the metal as a safe store of value. Further inflows into gold-backed exchange-traded funds indicated buoyant investor appetite for gold. The largest, New York-listed SPDR Gold Shares, saw inflows of nearly 15 tonnes on Monday, taking holdings to their highest since 2014. Spot gold was up 0.55 percent at $1,244.60 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for April delivery were up 0.94 percent at $1,246.