Friday March 16th


Wall Street eyes data, G-20 meeting

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Friday morning as traders eyed the release of data and the meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors, which kicks off in Baden-Baden, Germany, today. On the data front, industrial production and capacity utilization are set to be released at 9:15 a.m. ET, with consumer sentiment and leading indicators due to be released at 10:00 a.m. ET. On the earnings front, Tiffany is set to report before the bell. In Europe the pan European Stoxx 600 Index was around 0.16 percent lower on Friday morning. Asian markets traded sideways on Friday, following a flat to lower close on Wall Street, in a light regional data day. Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.35 percent on Friday morning. China's Shanghai composite fell 0.97 percent or 31.6 points to close at 3,237.31 and the Shenzhen composite slipped 0.81 percent or 16.6 points at 2,029.73. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was flat by 3:05 pm HK/SIN. In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $51.79 a barrel on Friday morning, up 0.10 percent, while U.S. crude was around $48.85 a barrel, up 0.21 percent. Gold prices held steady on Friday and were on course for their first weekly gain in three, as the dollar plumbed to fresh five-week lows after the U.S. central bank's signal of a slower pace of rate increases this year disappointed dollar bulls. Spot gold was nearly unchanged at $1,226.31 per ounce by 0739 GMT after hitting its highest since March 6 in the previous session, while U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,226.20.