Thursday October 5th


Futures point to a higher open on Wall Street, as investors await data, Fed speeches

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open Thursday, as investors look to key data releases and speeches by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 21 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 2.75 points and 22.50 points. In the previous session, Wall Street finished the trading day at record highs, with the Dow Jones industrial average ending 19.97 points up, hitting an all-time closing high of 22,661.64. This comes after the release of a strong batch of economic data Wednesday. President Donald Trump touted the stock market Thursday morning, saying on Twitter: "Stock Market hits an ALL-TIME high! Unemployment lowest in 16 years! Business and manufacturing enthusiasm at highest level in decades!" Looking ahead to Thursday's session, news out of the U.S. central bank is set to dominate discussion, as a number of leading Fed members are set to deliver remarks. Elsewhere, the House is expected to vote on its fiscal budget for 2018 on Thursday, which will keep the topic of tax reform up at the front of investors' minds. Looking to data, weekly jobless claims fell by 12,000 to 260,000. Meanwhile, the trade deficit fell by 2.7 percent to $42.4 billion in August. Factory orders data are due out at 10 a.m. in New York. In commodities, oil prices posted gains during early trade, as expectations materialized over the possibility of Saudi Arabia and Russia extending their production cuts; however, prices were capped due to persisting glut concerns. At 8:35 a.m. ET, U.S. crude traded around $50.06 per barrel, while Brent hovered around $56.12. Overseas, European stocks were trading in a mixed range, while markets in Asia closed on a relatively mixed note. Japan's Nikkei 225 gave up slight early gains to close nearly flat at 20,628.56, while the Topix index finished down 2.07 points, or 0.12 percent, at 1,682.49. The session in Asia followed a record-high close for U.S. equities overnight. Markets in China, Hong Kong and South Korea are shut for public holidays. Gold ticked higher on Thursday as some speculators bet that a slide from last month's peak had run its course as they waited for more clues on whether U.S. interest rates would be hiked. Gold has rowed back about 6 percent since touching $1,357.54 per ounce in early September, the highest in over a year. Spot gold was up 0.24 percent at $1,277.42 an ounce at 1005 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for December delivery added 0.25 percent to $1,280.