Wednesday January 18th


US futures slightly higher amid earnings, data; Yellen comments eyed

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday as traders digested a host of corporate earnings and data, while eyeing comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. On the data front, Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 percent in December, showing a 2.1 percent year-over-year increase, which is above the Fed's inflation target of 2 percent. Industrial production and capacity utilization following on at 9:15 a.m. The NAHB housing index is due at 10 a.m., with the Fed's Beige Book expected at 2 p.m. Later on in the day, Yellen is due to give a speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, at 3 p.m. ET. On the earnings front Wednesday, Citigroup reported mixed quarterly results, with earnings per share topping consensus estimates while sales missed. Goldman Sachs reported better-than-expected results on the top and bottom line. Netflix is among companies set to report after the bell. In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 Index was around 0.11 percent lower on Wednesday. Asia markets finished mostly higher on Wednesday, as the dollar index retreated from levels above 102 reached in the previous week, fueled by remarks from President-elect Donald Trump. In Japan, the Nikkei Stock Average closed up 80.84 points, or 0.43 percent, to 18,894.37, with export-oriented shares receiving a boost from a weaker yen. In China, the Shanghai composite was up 0.12 percent, while the Shenzhen composite slipped 0.45 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 1.15 percent in late-afternoon trade. Oil prices fell on Wednesday on expectations that U.S. producers would boost output, just as OPEC signaled that a global supply-reduction deal will shrink the oil glut this year. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were down $1.01, or 1.8 percent, at $54.46 a barrel at 8:52 a.m. ET (1352 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were trading down 92 cents, or 1.8 percent, at $51.56 per barrel. U.S. shale production is set to snap a three-month decline in February, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday, as energy firms boost drilling activity with crude prices hovering near 18-month highs. February production will edge up 40,750 barrels per day (bpd) to 4.748 million bpd, the EIA said. In January, it was expected to drop by 5,900 bpd. Gold retreated on Wednesday from the previous day's eight-week high, as a rebound in the dollar ahead of U.S. inflation data and a speech by Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen prompted some buyers to cash in gains. The metal peaked at $1,218.64 an ounce on Tuesday as the dollar index slid to a four-week low, hurt by U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's claim that the U.S. currency's strength against the yuan "is killing us", and as a soothing speech on Brexit from UK Prime Minister Theresa May sparked a surge in the pound. It struggled to maintain those gains as the dollar index recovered some lost ground on Wednesday, however. Spot gold was down 0.27 percent at $1,213.17 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for February delivery were down 0.02 percent at $1,212.7.