Tuesday March 14th


Futures point to lower open on Wall Street; oil prices, Fed in focus

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Tuesday morning as traders eyed a continued decline in oil prices and a probable March rate hike. Producer Price Index (PPI) rose 0.3 percent in February. Earlier on Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said its small business optimism index rose 0.2 point to a reading of 93.8 last month. The Federal Open Market Committee begins its two-day meeting on Tuesday as the market anticipated the Fed to raise interest rates for just the third time in 10 years. On the earnings front, Volkswagen, HD Supply Holdings and DSW are all scheduled to report before the bell. China Lodging Group and Fogo de Chao are both due to report after the market close. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx-600 index was around 0.23 percent lower on Tuesday morning. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite in China closed 0.05 percent higher, while the Nikkei in Japan closed 0.12 percent lower. In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $51.48 a barrel on Tuesday morning, up 0.25 percent, while U.S. crude was around $48.51 a barrel, up 0.23 percent. Oil prices hovered near three-month lows on Tuesday as investors eyed economic data which could provide further evidence as to whether a supply overhang persisted in the global market. Gold prices were steady on Tuesday as investors awaited the start of a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve meeting where the central bank is widely expect to raise interest rates. Spot gold was mostly unchanged at $1,203.16 per ounce at 0324 GMT. U.S. gold futures were also steady at $1,203.30 an ounce.