Monday July 17th


Earnings, oil in focus for traders on Wall Street

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Monday, as investors turned their attention to corporate earnings results. Dow futures rose 11 points, while S&P and Nasdaq futures advanced 1.75 and 10.25 points, respectively. BlackRock reported weaker-than-expected results, but said its exchange-traded fund business saw record inflows. Netflix is expected to report after the bell. Investors will also be looking out for the Empire State Manufacturing survey, slated to come out at 8.30 a.m. ET. Last Friday, data revealed that consumer prices remained unchanged in June and retail sales fell for the second straight month. The economic news is likely to dampen expectations of strong economic growth in the second quarter; with investors wondering what this may mean for rate hike strategy by the Federal Reserve going forward. Meanwhile, oil futures were fluctuating between gains and losses in morning trade, initially boosted by signs that growth of rigs looking for crude in the U.S. was slowing down. At 7:43 a.m. ET on Monday, U.S. crude was trading around $46.55, while Brent hovered around $48.99. In the political sphere, investors will be keeping an eye out for any more noise coming out of the White House, as the Russia-linked scandal continues to cause reverberations in markets. Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the U.S. Senate would postpone its consideration of legislation concerning health care, as Senator John McCain recovers from surgery, the Associated Press reported. In Europe, bourses were under pressure during early trade, while Asia-Pacific markets finished trade on a relatively mixed note. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.43 percent, or 10.47 points, to close at 2,425.10. The Kospi had traded as high as 2,430.34 earlier in the session. Down under, the S&P/ASX 200 closed down 0.17 percent, or 9.619 points, at 5,755.5 after a session of sideways trade. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was higher by 0.28 percent at 3:25 p.m. HK/SIN. On the mainland, markets traded in negative territory. The Shanghai Composite tumbled 1.42 percent, or 45.9187 points, to finish at 3,176.4981 and the Shenzhen Composite tumbled 4.278 percent, or 80.4715 points, to end at 1,800.5395. Japan markets were closed for Marine Day. Gold was steady on Monday and likely to see further gains after the dollar slumped to multi-month lows on the back of data that pointed to weak U.S. inflation and less prospect of rate hikes. Spot gold was up 0.45 percent to $1,234.06 per ounce while U.S. gold futures for August delivery rose 0.48 percent to $1,233.40 per ounce.