Friday November 18th


US stock futures struggle for gains amid Fed speakers

U.S. stock index futures pointed to narrowly mixed open Friday as traders eyed a host of Fed speakers. On Thursday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen gave testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. Yellen, like many other Fed speakers, reaffirmed that a rate hike is coming soon. Kansas City Fed President Esther George is set to speak in Houston at a joint conference of the Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Kansas City at 9:30 a.m. ET, with Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan speaking there at 1:30 p.m. ET, while New York Fed President Bill Dudley will hold a press briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Fed Governor Jerome Powell are also slated to speak. On Friday morning ET, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said he is leaning towards supporting a rate hike next month and argued on Friday that the real question now is the Fed's rate path in 2017. On the data front, Friday will see leading indicators released at 10 a.m. ET. On the earnings front, Foot Locker posted mixed results, beating earnings estimates and missing on revenues as comparable store sales rose 4.7 percent. Abercrombie & Fitch is also set to report before the bell. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx-600 index was around 0.26 percent lower on Friday. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite in China closed 0.47 percent lower, while the Nikkei in Japan closed 0.59 percent higher.Brent crude oil prices were headed for their first weekly gain in five on Friday buoyed by renewed hopes that OPEC might agree production cuts, but a stronger U.S. dollar capped gains. Brent crude oil futures were up 28 cents at $46.77 per barrel at 7:54 a.m. ET (1254 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were up 25 cents at $45.67 a barrel and were on track for a their first weekly gain in four. Gold dropped 1 percent to a 5-1/2-month low on Friday and was set for a second week of decline as the dollar soared after comments from the Federal Reserve bolstered expectations that U.S. interest rates would rise next month. Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at $1,211.06 an ounce by 7:06 a.m. EDT. The metal hit $1,203.86, its lowest level since May 30, earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures fell 0.4 percent to $1211.80 per ounce, after touching its lowest since Feb. 10 at $1,201.3 earlier.