Friday June 23rd


Fed speeches, oil, data in the limelight for traders on Wall Street

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat to lower open on Friday, as investors await the latest economic releases and speeches from Federal Reserve members, while maintaining a close eye on oil. Dow futures fell about 30 points after Deutsche Bank downgraded Caterpillar shares, while S&P futures rose 1.5 points and Nasdaq futures traded flat. On the final day of trading for the week, economic data is expected to keep investors busy with manufacturing PMI data and services PMI data due out at 9:45 a.m. ET, followed by the latest new home sales data, out at 10 a.m. ET. Earnings-wise, Blackberry is set to report its latest corporate results. On the central bank front, a whole host of speeches are set to take place by Fed officials on Friday. In Nashville, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is expected to appear at the Illinois Bankers Association's annual conference, where he is expected to comment upon the U.S. economy and monetary policy. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will be at the 2017 Policy Summit on Housing, Human Capital, and Inequality in Cleveland, where she's likely to talk about community development. In the meantime, Fed Governor Jerome Powell will be speaking at The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Symposium on Central Clearing. The speeches come just a day after the central bank revealed that 34 of the U.S.' largest banks had all cleared the first stage of an annual stress test. Oil continues to dominate sentiment in markets on Friday, as prices showed signs of recovery following the sharp declines seen earlier this week. On Friday, prices edged higher with U.S. crude trading around $42.88 at 8:27 a.m. ET, while Brent hovered around $45.38, however, glut concerns still weigh on market sentiment. In Europe, bourses were trading lower, while Asia-Pacific markets finished trade on a relatively mixed note. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.11 percent or 22.16 points to close at 20,132.67 and South Korea's benchmark Kospi index gained 0.35 percent or 8.23 points to end at 2,378.6. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index inched higher by 0.05 percent. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite added 0.32 percent or 9.9756 points to finish at 3,157.4288 and the Shenzhen Composite was closed 0.456 percent or 8.4978 points up at 1,871.3369. Gold prices climbed to one-week highs on Friday, boosted by a lower dollar and economic and political uncertainty around the world, but the prospect of further interest rate rises in the United States limited gains. Spot gold was up 0.65 percent at $1,258.31 an ounce after earlier touching $1,258.00, its highest since June 14. U.S. gold futures rose 0.81 percent to $1,259.50. However, gold is little changed from last week.