Monday February 26th


US stocks set to post sharp gains at open amid economic, corporate news

U.S. stock index futures were sharply higher ahead of Monday's open. Around 7:12 a.m. ET, Dow futures were indicating a rise of 187 points at the open. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 futures also pointed to a positive open for their respective markets. In the previous trading session, stocks on Wall Street finished higher, as anxiety surrounding higher interest rates subsided. While U.S. government debt yields remained under pressure Monday, concerns around the future of the economy and monetary policy in the States keep markets on edge. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note has stabilized around 2.9 percent over the past few weeks, under the key psychological level of 3 percent. At the latest reading, the yield on the benchmark 10-year note traded at 2.853 percent, below its high of 2.95 percent hit last week. That has given stocks some breathing room, with the Dow Jones industrial average up more than 1,100 points over the past two weeks of trading. Still, equities still have some ground to cover before they return to their pre-correction highs. The Dow remains more than 1,300 points — or nearly 5 percent — below its all-time high achieved on Jan. 26, 2018. The S&P 500 remains more than 4 percent below its own record high notched on the same day. Looking to Monday's session, in economic data news, new home sales are due out at 10 a.m. ET, followed by the Dallas Fed's Texas manufacturing outlook survey, set to be released at 10:30 a.m. ET. The Chicago Fed's National Activity Index will also come out at 8:30 a.m. ET. In the corporate space, Dean Foods, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Fitbit are some of the companies due to issue earnings updates. Investors will be waiting for news surrounding the NRA's relationship with leading businesses, with a growing list of companies choosing to end their partnerships following the mass shooting at a public high school in Florida. On the U.S. monetary policy front, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Fed Governor Randal Quarles will both be present at the 34th Annual NABE Economic Policy Conference in Washington, DC. Looking at markets overseas, both stocks in Europe and Asia posted solid gains Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 advanced 260.85 points, or 1.19 percent, after recording gains of more than 300 points earlier in the day. Elsewhere, South Korea's benchmark Kospi rose 0.25 percent to end at 2,457.65. The positive sentiment was also seen in Hong Kong, with the Hang Seng Index higher by 0.73 percent by 3:24 p.m. HK/SIN. On the mainland, the Shanghai composite climbed 1.25 percent to close at 3,330.25 and the Shenzhen composite jumped 2.25 percent to end at 1,815.02. Oil steadied around its highest prices in three weeks on Monday, supported by comments from Saudi Arabia that it would continue to curb shipments in line with the OPEC-led effort to cut global supplies. Brent crude was last down 8 cents on the day at $67.23 a barrel at 1005 GMT, after having risen almost 4 percent last week in its largest weekly gain since late October. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery eased 5 cents to $63.50 a barrel after rising 3 percent last week. Both contracts earlier rose to their highest since Feb. 7. Gold rose on Monday as a softer dollar helped the metal rebound from its biggest weekly loss this year, while traders awaited Federal ReserveChair Jerome Powell's debut congressional testimony this week for clues on the next direction of trade. The dollar index slid 0.4 percent on Monday, lifting gold after it fell 1.4 percent last week, its biggest weekly drop in 2 1/2 months. Spot gold was up 0.8 percent at $1,339.75 an ounce at 1056 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for April delivery were up $11.30 an ounce at $1,341.60.