Wednesday June 21st


US stock futures slip as oil takes center stage on Wall Street

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Wednesday, with investors keeping a close eye on moves in the oil market. Dow futures slipped 14 points, while S&P and Nasdaq futures fell 5 points and 14.25 points, respectively. Crude prices tumbled more than 2 percent, sending energy stocks lower on Tuesday on signs of rising oil production. That raised doubts about the state of compliance by OPEC and non-OPEC countries when it came to slashing production. On Tuesday, Libya and Nigeria – who are both exempt from the production reduction deal – were reportedly seeing increases in their oil supplies. Prices remained under pressure on Wednesday, with U.S. crude trading around $43.50, while Brent hovered around $45.98 at 7:43 a.m. ET. Meanwhile politics is expected to be lurking at the back of investors' minds, as the U.S. president is expected to hold a "Make America Great Again" rally in Iowa. On the data front, mortgage applications rose 0.6 percent as interest rates remained low. Existing homes sales data are due at 10 a.m ET. In the earnings sphere, Oracle is set to report after the bell. In Europe, bourses were trading lower, while Asia-Pacific markets finished trade on a negative note. The Nikkei 225 declined 0.45 percent or 91.62 points to close at 20,138.79 and the Kospi fell 0.49 percent or 11.7 points to end at 2,357.53. Markets in greater China were mixed following MSCI's decision to include A-shares. The Hang Seng Index traded lower by 0.48 percent at 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN, but mainland markets made gains. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.52 percent or 16.3641 points to end at 3,156.3777 and the Shenzhen Composite closed 0.433 percent or 8.1282 points higher at 1,887.1927. Gold inched up on Wednesday after hitting its lowest in five weeks in the previous session, buoyed as equities fell and the dollar eased from one-month highs following a tumble in crude oil prices. Spot gold was up 0.06 percent at $1,243.60 per ounce. U.S. gold futures for August delivery climbed 0.08 percent to $1,244.40 per ounce.