Monday June 19th


Fed speeches, politics set to take focus on Wall Street

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a strong higher open on Monday, as investors awaited remarks from leading Federal Reserve officials, while keeping a close eye on news coming out of the political sphere. Dow futures rose 71 points, while S&P and Nasdaq futures gained 7 points and 46.75 points, respectively. With little economic data due out on Monday, market-watchers will be on the lookout for any key statements made by two Fed presidents, just days after the central bank decided to raise rates for the second time this year. In the morning, New York Fed President William Dudley said the gains in economic growth were not well distributed, adding that the central bank plans on tightening monetary policy "very judiciously." Chicago Fed President Charles Evans will be at the Money Marketeers of New York University on Monday evening, where he is expected to talk about current economic conditions and monetary policy. Investors will also be on the lookout for any news out of the White House, as the U.S. President meets with the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela. On the data front, no major economic releases or earnings are due out on Monday, however two bills auctions will be taking place.Meanwhile in commodities, oil prices fluctuatedon Monday, with gains capped as a steady rise in U.S. production weighed on sentiment. At 8:33 a.m. in New York, U.S. crude was slightly up, hovering around $44.83, while Brent stood around $47.52 per barrel. In Europe, bourses were posting solid gains, while Asia-Pacific markets finished trade on a positive note. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.62 percent or 124.49 points to close at 20,067.75 and South Korea's Kospi edged higher by 0.38 percent or 9.07 points to finish the session at 2,370.9. Markets in greater China were in the green, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surging 1.11 percent at 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite added 0.7 percent or 21.8511 points to close at 3,145.0173 and the Shenzhen Composite rose 0.579 percent or 10.7977 points to end at 1,876.8499. Gold hit four-week lows on Monday as the dollar held firm and the market waited for comments from a top Federal Reserve official on U.S. monetary policy, but prices were supported by the start of talks on the terms of Britain's departure from the European Union. Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,251 an ounce by 0852 GMT, up from an earlier $1,248.63, its lowest since May 24. U.S. gold futures fell 0.3 percent to $1,252.5.