Monday October 23rd


Futures point to a slightly higher open as investors look to earnings deluge

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open Monday, as investors geared up for another batch of earnings, while keeping an eye for news surrounding who would take on the position as chair of the U.S. central bank. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 22 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 1.5 points and 10.25 points, respectively. Major earnings are set to dominate some discussion on Wall Street, with Arconic, Kimberly-Clark, and Seagate Technology published their latest financial figures. Halliburton and Hasbro also reported, posting better-than-expected quarterly results. Shares of Halliburton rose 2.1 percent, while Hasbro's stock slipped 0.2 percent. On the data front, the Chicago Fed's National Activity Index for September is set to come out at 8:30 a.m. ET. While no major speeches are expected to take place by members of the U.S. Federal Reserve on the first trading day of the week, discussion about who should lead the U.S. central bank from early 2018 is likely to be on the lips on many investors Monday, as a verdict looms. At present, five individuals have been named as potential candidates to take on the position of Fed chair — a role currently held by Janet Yellen. However, recent news suggests the number could be narrowing. In an interview aired in recent days, President Donald Trump acknowledged that the markets expected he would likely choose Stanford University economist John Taylor or Fed Governor Jerome Powell for the top role. One of the two could end up being put up for the position of Fed chair, while the other could be nominated for the vice chair role, an FBN report suggests. A decision is expected to be made before the president's trip to Asia in early November. In politics, Trump is expected to meet with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the White House on Monday. The two leaders will likely comment upon how each nation can strengthen their ties on a political, economic, and social basis, as well as discussing security. On the commodities front, oil prices came fluctuated in morning trade, with U.S. crude trading around $51.93 at 8:39 a.m. ET, while Brent hovered around $57.53 per barrel. In markets news, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 165.59 points by the close on Friday, reaching both intraday and closing records, after news emerged that the Senate had taken another step forward towards securing tax reform. Meanwhile, on Monday, European stocks edged higher during market trade, while markets in Asia closed mixed to mostly higher. Japanese stocks rose after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition secured a two-thirds "super majority" at an election over the weekend, according to Reuters, who cited local media. Those developments were cheered by investors, with Japanese equities popping at the open. The Nikkei 225 surged 1.11 percent, or 239.01 points, to close higher for a 15th straight session at 21,696.65. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi was little changed, closing up 0.02 percent at 2,490.05. Gains in blue-chip tech names were offset by declines seen in manufacturing plays and brokerages. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.46 percent by 3:02 p.m. Mainland markets, however, closed a touch above the flat line: The Shanghai Composite edged up 0.11 percent to end at 3,382.2729 and the Shenzhen Composite climbed 0.619 percent to finish at 2,012.0523. Gold hit a more than two-week low on Monday as expectations that Japan's ultra-loose monetary policy would stay in place after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's election victory at the weekend lifted the dollar to a three-month high versus the yen. Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,275.80 an ounce $1,273.61. U.S. gold futures for December delivery fell 0.3 percent to $1,276.30 per ounce.