Thursday June 14th


Dow set to rise 100 points at the open on strong economic data and dealmaking

U.S. stock index futures rose slightly on Thursday as a slew potential dealmaking news lifted shares of media companies. Dow Jones industrial average futures were trading 27 points higher, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to small gains. In the premarket, shares of 21st Century Fox rose nearly 1 percent after NBCUniversal-parent Comcast announced a bid to buy several major units of the media giant for $65 billion. Comcast's bid tops Disney's, who agreed to a $52.4 billion deal. The news comes a day after a judge approved AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner. Last year, the Justice Department sued to block the merger, arguing it would potentially lead to higher prices for the consumer. AT&T shares rose 0.5 percent, while Time Warner gained 0.3 percent. Thursday's moves come after U.S. stocks closed lower after the Federal Reserve announced Wednesday a new rate hike and indicated that two other increases are possible until the end of the year. As a result, the Dow fell about 120 points as traders expect that the higher rates will bring higher costs for companies. The European Central Bank, meanwhile, said Thursday it will likely end its massive bond-buying program in December. Major Asian markets closed sharply lower on Thursday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates, a widely expected move, and indicated two more rate hikes were likely in 2018. The Nikkei 225 saw losses steepen as the yen firmed near the end of the session. The index sank 0.99 percent, or 227.77 points, to end at 22,738.61. In Seoul, the Kospi fell 1.84 percent to 2,423.48, lagging other major markets in the region. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 1.09 percent by 3:15 p.m. Mainland markets saw slimmer losses, with the Shanghai composite erasing early gains to close lower by 0.17 percent at 3,044.46. Oil prices steadied on Thursday, but were likely to remain under pressure from evidence of rising U.S. output and uncertainty over the outlook for supply before a key meeting next week of the world's largest exporters. Brent crude futures were last up 6 cents at $76.80 a barrel by 0915 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 12 cents at $66.76 a barrel. Gold hit a two-week high on Thursday as the dollar fell and investors fretted over weak Chinese data and U.S.-China trade frictions, though the precious metal's upside was capped by a slightly more hawkish Federal Reserve. The dollar edged back against the euro as speculation grows the European Central Bank (ECB) will signal an end date for its vast stimulus program at its policy meeting, giving back all its gains following Wednesday's Fed meeting. As widely expected, the Fed lifted key overnight borrowing costs by a quarter percentage point. It also projected two more rate increases by the end of this year, compared to one previously. A weak dollar makes dollar-priced gold cheaper for non-U.S. investors. Spot gold rose 0.5 percent to $1,304.65 per ounce at 1020 GMT. It earlier hit a high of $1,303.58 an ounce, its best since May 31. U.S. gold futures for August delivery rose 0.6 percent to $1,308.90 per ounce.