Monday July 31st


Wall Street set to open higher as earnings dominate trading

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Monday as investors keep their focus on earnings reports. Dow futures rose 54 points, while S&P and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 3points and 12.5 points, respectively. French drug maker Sanofi and HSBC released their latest figures before the bell. HSBC, Europe's largest bank, announced a 5 percent rise in pretax profits in the first half of 2017 as well as the third share buyback in a year. Pandora Media, Alexandria Real Estate and Itau Unibanco are due to report after the bell. In terms of data, investors will be watching out for Chicago PMI numbers due at 0945 EST , pending home sales at 10 EST time and the Dallas Fed manufacturing figures at 1030 EST time. Meanwhile, investors will also be assessing developments between Russia and the U.S. On Friday, the Kremlin told Washington it needs to cut 755 of its staff members in Russia and further measures could be taken as a result of new sanctions against Moscow. In commodity markets, oil prices hit their highest level in approximately two months on Monday morning as the U.S. considers sanctions against Venezuela. At 0752 ET, Brent was trading slightly higher at $52.62 and WTI stood at $49.71. Major Asian indexes closed mostly higher on Monday, as regional markets appeared to shrug off heightened geopolitical tensions in the Korean Peninsula and digested the release of China PMI data. Japan's Nikkei 225 edged down 0.17 percent, or 34.66 points to close at 19,925.18 while South Korea's Kospi reversed earlier losses to climb 0.07 percent, or 1.72 points, to end at 2,402.71. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.22 percent to 27,307.91 by 3.17 p.m. HK/SIN after touching 27,321.31 earlier in the session — its highest level since May 2015, according to Reuters. Mainland markets shrugged off the release of slightly lower-than-expected China PMI data to close higher. The Shanghai Composite was up 0.64 percent, or 20.8924 points, to close at 3,274.1328 and the Shenzhen Composite gained 0.574 percent, or 10.7235 points to finish at 1,879.0959. Gold prices hit their highest in almost seven weeks on Monday, boosted by a struggling dollar and U.S. economic data that has cast doubt on whether the Federal Reserve will raise rates again this year. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,266.99 an ounce at 0846 GMT from an earlier $1,270.98, its highest since June 14. It is on course for a two percent rise this month. U.S. gold futures fell 0.2 percent to $1,265.90 an ounce.