Wednesday August 23rd


Wall Street set for a weak open after Trump hints at government shutdown

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wednesday as investors digested remarks from President Donald Trump. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 62 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 8.75 points and 21.25 points, respectively. At a rally in Phoenix, Trump said he would keep his campaign promise of building a border wall even "if we have to close down our government." Trump also said he doubts a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement is possible. Trump's remarks came after the administration has faced a couple of turbulent weeks due to a shakeup in staff and comments made Trump following the violent protests in Charlottesville, Va. Investors also awaited key economic data releases ahead of an important monetary policy symposium at Jackson Hole later on this week. Data to watch on Wednesday, includes the flash US composite purchasing managers' index (PMI) due out at 9:45 a.m. ET, which will be followed by new home sales, set to come out at 10 a.m. ET. On the central bank front, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan is set to speak at the Permian Basin Petroleum Association Membership Luncheon in Midland, Texas on Wednesday. This speech comes just before central bankers meet later this week at Jackson Hole. At the event, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi are both set to speak, with investors watching the event closely for any indications when it comes to monetary policy outlook. In commodities, oil prices came under pressure in morning trade as oversupply concerns returned to the market after Libyan output showed signs of recovery. At 7:59 a.m. ET, U.S. crude hovered around $47.63 per barrel, while Brent stood at $51.50. Overseas, European bourses traded mostly lower in morning trade, while stocks in Asia finished mostly mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.26 percent, or 50.80 points, to close at 19,434.64, ending a five-day losing streak. Across the Korean strait, the Kospi inched up by 0.05 percent, or 1.07 points, to close at mostly flat at 2,366.4. Mainland China markets also edged down. The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.08 percent, or 2.5461 points, to close at 3,287.6796, while the Shenzhen Composite declined 0.331 percent, or 6.3243 points, to 1,901.9955. Gold prices edged up on Wednesday, supported by jitters over political uncertainty in the United States ahead of a major central banking conference this week. Spot gold was up 0.42 percent to $1,289.76 an ounce, after shedding 0.5 percent in the previous session. U.S. gold futures were rose 0.34 percent to $1,295.40 per ounce.