Thursday September 7th


Futures point to a slightly higher open, as Wall Street looks to Fed talk, ECB

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Thursday, as investors geared up for speeches from leading Federal Reserve members, as well as awaiting news from the European Central Bank's latest Governing Council meeting. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 2 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 1 point and rose 5.5 points, respectively. Shares of TripAdvisor, Activision and Logitech all traded higher in the premarket. GoPro's stock also rose after after forecasting rosy guidance for the third quarter. Central banks are expected to be the name of the game on Thursday, as investors shrug off concerns surrounding geopolitics, and look to key news out of both the ECB and the U.S. Federal Reserve. The European Central Bank (ECB) left its benchmark interest rate unchanged Thursday and made no reference to the anticipated wind-down of its stimulus program. President Mario Draghi had said at the last ECB press conference in July that discussions over the future of the central bank's quantitative easing (QE) program could be expected in "the fall" - prompting many to speculate that he could detail a reduction in September. Investors are watching this economic event closely to see if the institution provides any clues or debate on the timing of an exit from its ultra-loose monetary policy program. Meanwhile, a number of officials from the U.S. Federal Reserve are set to deliver remarks on Thursday. In Georgia, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic is set to participate in a moderated discussion on his views on the economy later on in the day; while at 5.30 p.m. EDT, New York Fed President William Dudley will be in New York, where he is set to deliver remarks at a Money Marketeers of New York University event. In addition, Kansas City Fed President Esther George will also be expected to comment on the outlook of the U.S. economy outlook when she is at the Omaha Economic Forum in the evening; while Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will be discussing monetary policy at an event in Pittsburgh, around midday. Meanwhile, investors will also be paying close attention to news coming out of Washington D.C.. In the last few days, investors have been digesting the comments surrounding the U.S.' reaction to North Korea, in addition to news surrounding the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, had announced that they were prepared to vote in favor of a three-month debt limit increase. Following this announcement, it was reported by the two Democrats that President Donald Trump would support a debt ceiling extension and government funding plan. Switching focus to data, jobless claims and productivity and costs are set to come out at 8.30 a.m. ET, followed by the quarterly services report, due out at 10 a.m. ET. On the commodities front, oil prices fluctuated as investors remained cautious in light of the potential chaos which could be triggered by Hurricane Irma. At 5.50 a.m. ET, U.S. crude traded lower at $48.93, while Brent was up at $54.44. Meanwhile in earnings, Dell Technologies, American Outdoor Brands, Cloudera, Okta, Redfin, and Barnes & Noble are some of the major companies set to report. In Europe, markets edged higher while Asia finished on a mixed to higher note. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.2 percent, or 38.55 points, to close at 19,396.52. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi bounced 1.14 percent to end at 2,346.19 after falling previously for five consecutive sessions. The broader index was driven by gains in brokerages, automakers and some tech stocks: Samsung Electronics closed up 2.38 percent and Hyundai Motor rose 1.47 percent. South Korean markets were also likely buoyed by news that the U.S. had decided to put aside plans to terminate a trade deal with it. Greater China markets edged down. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was off 0.26 percent at 3:08 p.m. HK/SIN. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.56 percent to finish at 3,366.4324 while the Shenzhen Composite erased earlier gains to lose 0.343 percent, closing at 1,972.7394. Gold held steady on Thursday, supported by a weaker dollar and lingering concerns over North Korea, as markets awaited the outcome of a European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting later in the day. Spot gold was unchanged at $1,333.90 per ounce at 0624 GMT, after easing 0.3 percent in the previous session. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were also flat at $1,339.10.