Thursday June 22nd


Oil, politics, data in the spotlight on Wall Street

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat to slightly higher open on Thursday, as investors geared up for a cluster of data releases. Oil will still be at the front of investors' minds on Thursday, as prices continue to fluctuate over concerns of a glut in the market. On Thursday, prices rose with U.S. crude trading at $42.90 at 8:40 a.m. ET, while Brent hovered around $45.33. In the political sphere, it is reported that the U.S. president will meet with a second round of tech executives and venture capitalists on Thursday. On the data front, jobless claims hit 241,000, just above the expected 240,000 number. The FHFA House Price Index is set for release at 9 a.m. ET and the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index is expected at 11 a.m. ET. Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve board is set to release the results from the latest supervisory stress tests conducted as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. Earnings-wise, Accenture posted quarterly results before the bell; Bed Bath & Beyond and Sonic are set to report their latest corporate results after the close. In other corporate news, shares of American Airlines jumped more than 5 percent after the airline disclosed Qatar Airways had approached the firm about taking a large stake in the company. In Europe, bourses were trading lower, while Asia-Pacific markets finished trade on a relatively mixed note. The Nikkei 225 reversed earlier gains to close lower by 0.14 percent or 28.28 points at 20,110.51 and the Kospi rose 0.54 percent or 12.84 points to close at 2,370.37. Markets in greater China traded lower. The Hang Seng Index shed 0.13 percent at 3:07 p.m. HK/SIN. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite declined 0.29 percent or 9.0869 points to close at 3,147.1249 and the Shenzhen Composite fell 1.29 percent or 24.3536 points to end the session at 1,862.8391. Gold prices rose for a second straight day on Thursday as risk averse sentiment amid weaker oil prices drove up the demand for the metal, with a softer dollar and weakness in U.S. Treasury yields also lending support. Spot gold rose 0.37 percent to $1,250.67 per ounce. It rose 0.3 percent in the previous session, its largest intraday percentage change since June 6. U.S. gold futures for August delivery rose 0.46 percent to $1,251.50 per ounce.