Tuesday February 28th


US futures point lower as investors eye Trump’s speech to Congress

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Tuesday which could finally break the Dow's winning streak, as investors await a key speech from President Donald Trump in the evening. Markets edged higher in the previous session. The Dow and S&P 500 hit fresh intraday highs. The Dow gained around 15 points, closing at a record high for a 12th consecutive session, its longest winning streak since 1987. Investors are looking ahead to President Trump's speech to a joint session of Congress in the evening. He's expected to discuss his bigger plans for defense and stimulus spending. He's also expected to address repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, but markets are most interested in what he has to say about tax reform. On the earnings front, SeaWorld and Target are among the companies that reported before the bell. Target reported weaker-than-expected results, sending shares down more than 10 percent in the premarket. After the bell, Palo Alto Networks, Salesforce and Jazz Pharmaceuticals are expected to post earnings. There are also lots of data on the calendar. The second reading of Q4 GDP showed a 1.9 percent increase, unchanged from the first read and below an expected 2.1 percent rise. Later, we'll have the Chicago PMI reading and consumer confidence figures. Meanwhile in Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index traded flat. Asia markets finished mixed on Tuesday, despite U.S. gains, as investors await a key speech from President Donald Trump. The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed nearly flat at 19,118.99, retracing gains seen in early trade, while the Topix index added 1.32 points, or 0.09 percent, to 1,535.32. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi closed up 6.12 points, or 0.29 percent, at 2,091.64. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was down 0.74 percent in afternoon-trade. Chinese mainland markets ended in positive territory, with the Shanghai composite up 13.99 points, or 0.43 percent, at 3,242.65, and the Shenzhen composite adding 12.54 points, or 0.63 percent, to 2,001.32. Global oil prices dipped on Tuesday but continued to trade in a tight range with the OPEC-led output cuts offset by increasing crude production from the United States. Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil on Tuesday extended losses after trading little changed from the previous day's close. Brent was 39 cents lower at $55.54 a barrel while the U.S. benchmark was 38 cents lower at $53.67 by 8:38 a.m. ET (1338 GMT). Gold held steady on Tuesday after falling from a 3-1/2 month high in the previous session, as the market waited on a speech by President Donald Trump that is expected to provide more clarity on economic reforms. Spot gold inched up 0.22 percent at $1,255.46 per ounce. The metal hit its highest since Nov. 11 at $1,263.80 on Monday. U.S. gold futures fell 0.21 percent to $1,256.20.