Thursday November 3rd


US stock futures mostly higher as traders gear up for election

U.S. stock index futures traded mostly higher on Thursday as traders geared up for next week's presidential election, digested data and a big day of earnings. With the election now less than a week away, Wall Street's long-running view that Hillary Clinton would easily become the next president has been replaced by a belief that Donald Trump still has a chance of winning. However, the latest Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll released on Wednesday showed Clinton's lead over Trump rising back up to 6 percentage points. On the data front, initial jobless claims came in at 265,000, above a consensus estimate of 258,000. Also, the preliminary read on third-quarter productivity showed an increase of 3.1 percent, well above the expected rise of 2 percent. The ISM non-manufacturing index and factory orders are also set to be released at 10:00 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, October payrolls are due to be released on Friday, which could give further indication on when the Federal Reserve could next raise interest rates. On the earnings front, Starbucks, Activision Blizzard,Kraft Heinz and El Pollo Loco are among companies due to report after the bell. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx-600 index rose 0.6 percent after a United Kingdom court ruling said the country would have to obtain parliamentary approval to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the European Union. The Shanghai Composite in China closed 0.84 percent higher. Markets in Japan were closed for a public holiday. Crude oil futures edged up on Thursday, supported by news of an attack on a Nigerian oil pipeline and a weaker U.S. dollar, after four days of falls over scepticism that a global glut in crude supplies could be stemmed. Brent crude was trading up 52 cents, or 1.11 percent, at $47.38 a barrel by 7:35 a.m. ET (1135 GMT). U.S. crude was up 45 cents, or 0.99 percent, at $45.79 per barrel. Gold fell on Thursday, driven by the Federal Reserve signalling that it could hike interest rates next month and uncertainty over the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. The Fed kept rates unchanged on Wednesday, but said the economy had gained steam and job gains remained solid. Policymakers also expressed more optimism that inflation was moving toward their 2 percent target. Gold is highly sensitive to rising rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets, while also boosting the dollar, in which the metal is priced. Spot gold fell 0.5 percent to $1,290.01 an ounce at 8:20 am EDT. The yellow metal touched a high of $1,307.76 in the previous session, its best since Oct 4. U.S. gold futures were down 1.3 percent at $1,291 per ounce.