Friday August 24th

24-08-2018

US stock futures slightly higher as China trade talks end; Powell to speak at Jackson Hole

U.S. stock index futures rose slightly on Friday as talks between the U.S. and China ended without a deal and traders awaited a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 54 points higher at around 7 a.m. ET, indicating a gain of 70.02 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also rose. European and Asian equities were mixed following an expected lack of progress on trade relations between the U.S. and China. The two world powers concluded talks Thursday with no breakthrough — most market observers did not have high hopes for the meeting after President Donald Trump said he did not "anticipate much" to be resolved on tariffs during the course of the talks. America and China hit each other's economies with another round of levies Thursday, both targeting $16 billion worth of goods with 25 percent duties. Gains stateside were capped by dampened sentiment on trade risks. Meanwhile, the Fed's Powell will address attendees of the Jackson Hole Symposium in Wyoming on Friday, where leading central bankers are meeting to discuss the future of monetary policy. Market watchers will likely tune into any comments the Fed chair makes on risks to the domestic and global economy and the direction of interest rates and other policy measures. Fed minutes released earlier this week showed the U.S. central bank held worries about the effects of protectionism and trade tensions on the economy. On the data front, a big drop in new contracts for passenger jets caused orders for U.S. durable goods to fall in July for the third time in four months. But most manufacturers aside from Boeing reported good results and business investment strengthened. Orders for long-lasting goods fell 1.7% in July, the government said Friday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 1.1% decline in orders for durable goods — products made to last at least three years. Stripping out planes and cars, orders actually rose 0.2% to mark the sixth increase in a row. Transportation often exaggerates the ups and downs in orders because of lumpy demand from one month to the next. Asia markets mixed in closing on Friday as investors reacted to an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China, a shakeup in leadership in Australia and inflation data from Japan. Greater China markets were mixed Friday afternoon. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.35 percent at 3:10 p.m. The Shanghai Composite retraced morning losses to finish up 4.8 points, or 0.18 percent, at 2,729.42 while the Shenzhen compositedeclined 3.36 points, or 0.23 percent, to 1,460.33. Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 190.95 points, or 0.85 percent, to 22,601.77 and the Topix index rose 10.98 points, or 0.65 percent, at 1,709.2. Oil prices rose on Friday, putting futures on pace to snap several weeks of declines, supported by signs that U.S. sanctions on Iran are already reducing global crude supply. Benchmark Brent crude oil was up 85 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $75.58 a barrel by 8:46 a.m. ET (1246 GMT). Brent was on track for a gain of more than 5 percent this week, following three consecutive weekly losses. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 79 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $68.62, heading for a gain of about 4 percent this week. WTI has fallen for seven straight weeks. Gold prices rose on Friday as the dollar came under pressure ahead of a speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, which could yield clues to the direction of U.S. monetary policy. Spot gold was up 0.7 percent at $1,193.10 an ounce, about 3 percent higher than last week's 2018 low below $1,160.00. U.S. gold futures were up 0.4 percent at $1,199.40.