Wednesday September 28th


Flurry of Fed speakers to hit Wall Street; watch out for Yellen

U.S. stock index futures rose slightly on Wednesday, ahead of a flurry of speakers from the Federal Reserve, including Janet Yellen. The Fed chair will speak before the Committee on Financial Services at 10 a.m. ET about banking supervision and regulation. Five other Fed officials will make public appearances on Wednesday, namely, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and Kansas City Fed President Esther George. Meanwhile, U.S. economic data released on Wednesday included monthly durable goods orders, which came in unchanged. The Mortgage Bankers Association also reported weekly mortgage applications fell by 0.7 percent. Weekly oil inventories data are due at 10:30 a.m. ET. Blackberry shares rose more than 3 percent before the bell after posting quarterly results. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, continued to gain on Wednesday, trading around 95.46 at 8:24 a.m. ET. This was higher than its last close of 95.44 but still down from September's peaks above 96.00. Oil prices rose slightly on Wednesday, having slipped around 3 percent on Tuesday after hopes waned that Saudi Arabia and Iran would reach a deal to tackle the global crude supply glut on the sidelines of an energy conference in Algiers. U.S. stock indexes closed higher on Tuesday, boosted by the perceived stronger performance from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton than Republican Donald Trump in the first U.S. presidential debate. A better-than-expected reading for U.S. consumer confidence also supported sentiment. Stocks to watch on Wednesday include Nike, which fell over 2 percent in extended hours' trade after reporting disappointing earnings, which predicated a wave of analyst downgrades. Also worth an eye is Facebook, after it said it would appeal an order by a German regulator to stop storing data of German users of its messaging app WhatsApp and erase all previously collected information. Oil prices rose on Wednesday, after sharp losses in the previous session, as industry data showed a surprise draw in U.S. crude stocks, although worries over a lack of agreement among producers to curb output kept a lid on gains. Brent crude rose 61 cents to $46.58 a barrel after settling down $1.38 on Tuesday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 55 cents at $45.22 a barrel after closing $1.26 a barrel lower the previous day. Gold prices hit a one-week low on Wednesday, as the dollar firmed and investors shifted their focus to Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen's testimony later in the day. Spot gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,325.86 an ounce by 7:17 am ET. It fell nearly one percent on Tuesday, its biggest single-day loss in one month on higher appetite for risk. U.S. gold futures eased 0.1 percent to $1,329 an ounce. Asia markets finished mixed on Wednesday, with Japanese shares selling off amid a relatively stronger yen. The Nikkei 225 closed down 218.53 points, or 1.31 percent, at 16,465.40, while the Topix index slid 18.45 points, or 1.37 percent, to 1,330.77. In South Korea, the Kospi finished down 9.76 points, or 0.47 percent, at 2,053.06. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 0.12 percent by late-afternoon trade. Mainland Chinese shares also ended lower, with the Shanghai composite closing down 10.04 points, or 0.34 percent, at 2,988.12, while the Shenzhen composite was down 2.96 points, or 0.15 percent, at 1,978.30.