Monday August 21st


Wall Street set for a lower open to kick off the week

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat-to-lower open on Monday, as investors look to the U.S. political sphere for cues on how to trade. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average implied a loss of 15 points for the index at the open, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures indicated the indexes would rise 0.5 points and 1.05 points, respectively. Last Friday, U.S. stocks closed off their session lows following news that one of President Donald Trump's top advisors Steve Bannon had departed from his role at the White House. It has since been announced that Bannon is going back to work for right-wing media outlet Breitbart News, a move which Trump applauded on Twitter over the weekend. Meanwhile, billionaire investor Carl Icahn has resigned in recent days from his position as special advisor on regulation to President Trump. With the recent shakeup in the administration and political turmoil continuing to weigh on sentiment, investors remain on edge when it comes to the future of President Trump's economic agenda. On the commodities front, oil prices came under slight pressure on Monday, as rising U.S. output weighed on sentiment. At 7:37 a.m. ET, U.S. crude hovered around $48.64 per barrel, while Brent stood at $52.70. Overseas, European bourses traded mostly lower in morning trade, while stocks in Asia finished relatively mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 slid 0.40 percent, or 77.28 points, to close at 19,393.13, as gains in oil stocks were offset by softness in most automakers, financials and technology names. Across the Korean strait, the Kospi shed 0.14 percent, or 3.37 points, to close at 2,355, as U.S.-South Korea military exercises began. Greater China markets bucked the downward trend to climb higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.48 percent by 3:15 p.m. HK/SIN. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite advanced 0.57 percent, or 18.5977 points, to close at 3,287.3220 and the Shenzhen Composite rose 0.745 percent, or 14.1648 points, to end at 1,916.4186. Gold prices were little changed on Monday as investors sought further direction after a week of geopolitical uncertainty in the United States and Europe and ahead of a meeting of central bankers later this week. Spot gold edged 0.36 percent higher at $1,288.66 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up 0.18 percent at $1,293.70 per ounce.