Monday January 22nd


US futures point to a negative open as US government shutdown weighs

U.S. stock index futures fell into the red ahead of the open Monday, as investors pondered what the government shutdown will mean for markets. Dow Jones industrial average futures declined 49 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 2 points and 3.5 points, respectively. On Saturday, the U.S. government shut down after a bill that would have kept government funded through mid-February was voted against in the Senate. This marked the first U.S. government shutdown since 2013. An agreement to stop the political deadlock has yet to be secured, meaning shutdown concerns are expected to linger. On Monday, the Senate is expected to try to restore federal funding again, whether on a temporary basis or for longer, while trying to fix an issue over immigration. A vote by the Senate is set to be held at 12 p.m. ET Monday that, if successful, would provide funding to the government. Markets in Asia, however, closed higher, while Europe traded relatively flat on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 was little changed, closing higher by 0.03 percent at 23,816.33. Meanwhile, South Korea's Kospi declined 0.72 percent to end at 2,502.11 as index heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 2.19 percent on the day. Greater China markets were in positive territory. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.35 percent by 3:05 p.m. HK/SIN, with casino stocks in positive territory. On the mainland, the Shanghai composite added 0.39 percent to close at 3,501.36 and the Shenzhen composite gained 1.16 percent to end at 1,943.91. The blue chip CSI 300 index was higher by 1.19 percent. While concerns over the shutdown are set to linger, earnings are likely to sway some sentiment Monday. Halliburton, Netflix, TD Ameritrade and Brown & Brown are some of the names set to publish their latest financial figures. Oil prices fluctuated around the flatline, however sentiment was boosted after comments from Saudi Arabia. The Middle Eastern country said that cooperation between oil producers who have slashed production to lift prices would continue past this year, Reuters reported. Brent crude futures were at $68.79 at 0053 GMT, up 18 cents, or 0.26 percent, from their last close. Brent on Jan. 15 hit its highest since December, 2014, at $70.37 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.53 a barrel, up 16 cents, or 0.25 percent, from their last settlement. WTI marked a December-2014 peak of $64.89 a barrel on Jan. 16. Gold nudged higher on Monday as the dollar wallowed near three-year lows following a U.S. government shutdown, although bullishness in the wider financial markets capped the precious metal's gains. Spot gold edged up 0.04 percent to $1,331.96 an ounce first weekly decline in six weeks, having hit four-month highs last Monday. U.S. gold futures for February delivery were down 0.11 percent at $1,331.60.