Tuesday March 22nd


US futures lower as Street reacts to Brussels explosions

U.S. stock index futures indicated a lower open on Tuesday morning as traders reacted to reports of a series of explosions across the Belgian capital, Brussels. The Flemish public broadcaster VRT, citing the emergency services, said at least 11 people are now dead and 81 injured following explosions in Brussels airport. Two explosions were reported from the airport and VRT is saying that one of them was a suicide attack. In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 Index was down 0.6 percent, with downward moves across European markets. "I regret to say, yes it is (logical) and the short term reaction is that investors will exit the airlines sector, the transport sector, the travel sector, the leisure sector and there will be a flight to quality in the dollar as we are seeing in the movement on the dollar-euro," Bob Parker, senior advisor at Credit Suisse, said. In oil markets, Brent crude traded at $41.28 a barrel, down 0.63 percent, while U.S. crude was at $41.17, down 0.82 percent. Fed speakers today include Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker. In the U.S., Tuesday will see the FHFA home price index released at 9:00 a.m. ET. On the earnings front, Nike, Red Hat and Krispy Kreme are among companies due to report today. Asia markets were mixed in a quiet session on Tuesday, with a weaker yen buoying Japanese stocks while Chinese stocks gave their Monday gains but held onto the psychologically key 3,000 level. Japan's Nikkei 225, which reopened after a public holiday Monday, closed up 323.74 points, or 1.94 percent, at 17,048.55. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi finished up 7.05 points, or 0.35 percent, at 1,996.81. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gave up morning gains to close near flat at 20,666.75. Chinese markets, which were up Monday after authorities signaled the loosening of controls over margin lending, retreated, with the Shanghai composite closing down 18.13 points, or 0.60 percent, at 3,000.67. The Shenzhen composite fell 5.58 points, or 0.29 percent, at 1,880.78. Gold rallied on Tuesday after two explosions at Brussels airport killed at least 13 people and a further blast hit the Belgian capital's Metro, with investors seeking assets seen as a haven from risk. Spot gold rallied to a high of $1,259.60 an ounce in the wake of the news, and was at $1,250.16, up 0.55 percent. U.S. gold futures for April delivery were up $6.80 an ounce at $1,251. Gold fell for three days to Monday on uncertainty over the path of U.S. interest rates. Speculation rates would rise pushed prices down 10 percent last year, but they have rebounded 20 percent since Jan. 1 as those expectations faded.