Tuesday March 15th


Futures extend losses amid oil slide, data

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Tuesday amid of a number of key data releases, as investors geared up for the Federal Open Market Committee's policy announcement on Wednesday. Oil extended the prior day's decline, with U.S. crude oil futures off more than 2.6 percent near $36.20 a barrel as of 8:38 a.m. ET. The FOMC is scheduled to begin its two-day meeting Tuesday and release its statement and economic projections followed by a news conference on Wednesday. February retail sales showed a decline of 0.1 percent. Excluding the volatile gas and auto categories, sales rose 0.3 percent, Reuters said. PPI showed a decline of 0.2 percent. The March Empire State Manufacturing Survey, an index tracking manufacturing in New York state, came in at positive 0.62, according to StreetAccount. Treasury yields held lower, with the 2-year yield at 0.93 percent and the 10-year yield at 1.92 percent. The U.S. dollar index was a touch lower, with the euro at $1.1114 and the yen at 112.68 yen against the greenback. January business inventories and the March NAHB housing market index are also scheduled for release later in the morning. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan maintained its commitment to raise the monetary base by 80 trillion Japanese yen annually and left the rate it charges commercial banks on certain reserves at 0.1 percent, after a two-day monetary policy meeting that began on Monday. Asian stocks traded lower after the announcement. In Europe, stocks also stumbled, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index down around 1 percent. The Nikkei 225 closed down 116.68 points, or 0.68 percent, at 17,117.07, after wavering between positive and negative territories in the morning. In South Korea, the Kospi gave up early gains to close down 2.30 points, or 0.12 percent, at 1,969.97. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished lower by 146.57 points, or 0.72 percent, at 20,288.77. Chinese markets finished mixed, as the Shanghai composite eked out a gain of 4.75 points, or 0.17 percent, to close at 2,864.25, after spending most of the session in negative territory. The Shenzhen composite slid 16.20 points, or 0.92 percent, to 1,729.07. U.S. stocks closed mixed in low volume trade Monday, mostly shaking off a decline in oil prices ahead of the Fed meeting later in the week. Gold fell to its lowest in almost two weeks on Tuesday as the dollar firmed ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting that is expected to give clues on the pace of future U.S. rate rises. Spot gold fell to $1,225.70 an ounce, its lowest since March 2, in earlier trade and was last flat. U.S. gold futures slid 0.69 percent to $1,236.50 an ounce.