Monday September 18th


US futures point to a higher open on Wall Street ahead of Fed meet

U.S. stock index futures are signaling a higher open on Monday as investors look ahead to the Federal Reserve's September meeting which begins on Tuesday. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 56 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 4.5 points and 8.25 points, respectively. Most market participants do not expect a rate hike to be announced at this month's meeting although the central bank is projected to announce the unwinding of its massive $4.5 trillion portfolio. Market expectations for a December Fed rate hike are now at 52.9 percent, however, according to the CME Group's Fedwatch tool. U.S. government debt yields rose. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was higher at 2.215 percent at 8:08 a.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also up slightly at 2.779 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices. On the data front, the U.S. Department of the Treasury is due to release Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for July 2017 and the NAHB releases its September survey of confidence among American home builders. On the earnings front, Steelcase is expected to report before the bell. Meanwhile, in Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 was up by around 0.3 percent, with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory. In particular, Portugal's stocks outperformed after credit agency Standard & Poor's gave the euro zone country an investment grade rating after more than five years. Asian shares closed higher on Monday as  investors anticipated clues on the direction of monetary policy from central banks later in the week. South Korea's benchmark Kospi index soared 1.35 percent to close at 2,418.21. Greater China markets were also positive. The Hang Seng Index rose 1.2 percent by 3:05 p.m. HK/SIN. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite advanced 0.29 percent to end at 3,363.2192 and the Shenzhen Composite added 0.742 percent to close at 2,002.7414. Japan markets were closed for a public holiday. U.S. crude oil prices rose above $50 per barrel on Monday and were near last week's multi-month highs as the number of U.S. rigs drilling for new production fell and refineries continued to restart after getting knocked out by Hurricane Harvey. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading up 41 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $50.30 by 0852 GMT, near the three-month high of $50.50 it reached last Thursday. Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the United States, were at $55.91 a barrel, up 29 cents, and also not far from the near five-month high of $55.99 touched on Thursday. Gold slipped to its lowest level in over two weeks on Monday as the dollar and equities rallied, while prospects of monetary policy tightening in the United States ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting meeting also weighed on the metal. Spot gold was down 0.54 percent at $1,3122.13 an ounce. Earlier in the session, gold hit $1314.36, its lowest since Aug 31. U.S. gold futures for December delivery fell 0.72 percent to $1,315.60 an ounce.