Tuesday July 11th


Data, Fed speeches in the spotlight on Wall Street; oil eyed

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a relatively flat open on Tuesday, as investors prepared themselves for a slew of data announcements and speeches by members of the U.S. Federal Reserve. On the data front, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) small business optimism index slipped to 103.6 in June from 104.5 in May. Wholesale trade and the Labor Department's JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report are also due at 10 a.m. ET. Sticking with financial news, PepsiCo posted better-than-expected quarterly results. Looking to the central banking space, a number of U.S. Federal Reserve members will be delivering speeches on Tuesday. Investors will be keeping a close eye on Washington on Tuesday, for any more political noise coming out of the White House as the Russia-linked scandal continues to rumble on. Oil prices were under pressure in morning trade, as overall market conditions remained weak amid oversupply concerns and several banks cutting their price forecasts, according to Reuters. At 8:07 a.m. ET, U.S. crude was lower at $43.96 a barrel, while Brent hovered around $46.38. In Europe, bourses were under pressure, while Asia-Pacific markets finished the session mostly higher. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.57 percent, or 114.5 points, to end at 20,195.48. In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.58 percent, or 13.9 points, to close at 2,396. Markets in greater China were mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 1.5 percent by 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN, but mainland markets trended lower. The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.29 percent, or 9.4504 points, to close at 3,203.1815, and the Shenzhen Composite declined 0.723 percent, or 13.7715 points, to finish at 1,891.5965. Gold prices hovered near four-month lows on Tuesday and the dollar held firm on expectations of tighter U.S. monetary policy as the market awaited a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen this week. Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,210.16 an ounce, near Monday's $1,204.45, its lowest since March 15. U.S. gold futures for August delivery slipped 0.3 percent to $1,209.7. A higher U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies, which could subdue demand.