Monday May 22nd


US politics, Fed speeches and oil on the agenda for Wall Street

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Monday as President Donald Trump tours the Middle East on his first foreign trip. Dow futures traded 11 points higher, while S&P and Nasdaq futures gained 0.25 points and 4.25 points, respectively. President Trump began his trip in Saudi Arabia over the weekend and delivered a speech in Israel in an attempt to reinvigorate the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Trump will then fly to Italy, the Vatican and Belgium during his time abroad. In earnings news, Booz Allen Hamilton posted results before the bell, while Agilent and Nordson are also expected to report. No major data is expected to be released on Monday. In the central bank sphere, a number of U.S. Federal Reserve members are expected to speak on Monday. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari is set to speak at the Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute Conference, with Fed Governor Lael Brainard also set to deliver remarks. Elsewhere, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker will be in Philadelphia where he will be commenting on the "link between physical and economic well-being" at the Jefferson College of Health Professions and Jefferson College of Pharmacy Commencement Ceremony. In commodities news, oil prices are front and center this week as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are set to meet to discuss compliance and the state of the oil market. On Monday, oil prices were trading higher, with U.S. crude trading higher at $51.06 around 8:10 a.m. ET, while Brent stood at $54.34 per barrel. In Europe, bourses traded flat Monday, while Asia-Pacific markets finished trade on a positive note. The Nikkei 225 closed 0.45 percent or 87.52 points higher at 19,678.28. Australia's ASX 200 added 0.76 percent or 43.791 points to finish at 5,771.2, driven largely by its energy and materials sub-indexes which were up 2.15 percent and 1.76 percent respectively. South Korea's benchmark Kospi index shrugged off news of the North Korean missile test and gained 0.68 percent or 15.55 points to end at 2,304.03. The Hang Seng Index jumped 0.91 percent, but markets on the mainland were in the red. The Shanghai Composite closed down 0.48 percent or 14.7079 to finish the session at 3,075.923 and the Shenzhen Composite tumbled 13.75 percent or 25.4938 points to finish at 1,828.2202. Gold prices edged lower on Monday as Asian stocks gained, although political worries surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump are expected to keep supporting appetite for the metal as a so-called safe-haven asset. Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,252.46 per ounce by 0404 GMT. It rose about 0.7 percent on Friday. U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,252.60 an ounce.