Tuesday August 15th


US stock futures rise on strong economic data, easing North Korea tension

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Tuesday after economic data surpassed expectations while tensions around North Korea show signs of alleviating. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 53 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 5.75 points and 17.25 points, respectively. Retail sales rose 0.6 percent in July, more than the expected increase of 0.4 percent. Meanwhile, import prices rebounded after two straight months of declines, advancing 0.1 percent. The Empire State manufacturing index spiked to 25.2 in August from just 9.8 in July. Stocks posted sharp gains on Monday, with the information technology sector closing at a record high, and were set for their third straight day of gains. Last week, stocks posted their second-worst weekly performance of the year, with the S&P falling 1.43 percent. Investors also breathed a sigh of relief after North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un stated that he would hold fire on making a decision surrounding a missile strike on Guam. Kim is reportedly looking for future actions by the U.S. before making a decision, Reuters reported citing the KCNA. Investors also sold safe havens like gold and U.S. Treasurys. Gold futures for December delivery fell 1.21 percent to $1,274.80 per ounce. The benchmark 10-year note yield rose to 2.273 percent. On the earnings front, Home Depot posted better-than-expected quarterly results. The stock initially popped on the news, but later traded 0.6 percent lower. In Europe, stocks were trading slightly higher in morning trade, while Asia markets finished trade on a mostly positive note. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.11 percent, or 216.21 points, to close at 19,753.31 as the greenback strengthened against the yen, after the index finished lower by close to 1 percent in the previous session. Greater China markets also trended higher, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index up 0.30 percent by 3:14 p.m. HK/SIN and mainland markets holding onto gains made in the previous session. The Shanghai Composite climbed 0.44 percent, or 14.2800 points, to end at 3,251.6402 while the Shenzhen Composite edged higher by 0.400 percent, or 7.5175 points, to close at 1,887.2833. Oil prices slipped on Tuesday after a heavy sell-off following a surge in the dollar and signs of weaker demand in China, the world's second-largest consumer. Benchmark Brent crude was down 44 cents at $50.29 a barrel by 8:10 a.m. ET (1210 GMT), after falling 2.6 percent on Monday. U.S. light crude fell 30 cents to $47.29. It dropped 2.5 percent on Monday, settling at a three-week low.