Monday May 14th


Stocks set to rise at the open as trade concerns abate

U.S. stock index futures pointed to gains at the open Monday, amid hopes of a potential breakthrough in trade tensions between the world's two largest economies. At 8:15 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 56 points, indicating a higher implied open of 70.83 points. Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 futures also indicated an upbeat start to the session for their respective markets. The moves in premarket trade followed comments from President Donald Trump over the weekend, in which he pledged to help Chinese technology firm ZTE Corp to "get back into business, fast" after a U.S. ban had significantly hampered the Asian company. Trump's tweet on Sunday came ahead of second round of trade talks between the U.S. and China this week. Trade officials are seeking to find a way to resolve an ongoing trade dispute, although Beijing has already said it will not change its current position over the coming days. U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday to record a week of solid gains following a strong rally in energy stocks. The Dow also posted a seven-day winning streak. Meanwhile, more earnings are scheduled to be released in the U.S. on Monday. Nissan was poised to release its latest figures before the opening bell, while Invitation Homes and Switch were among the major firms set to report earnings later in the session. No major economic data are scheduled to be published on Monday. Most Asian markets closed higher on Monday, with Malaysian stocks recovering after dropping at the open as markets reopened following an election. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 firmed 0.47 percent, or 107.38 points, to close at 22,865.86 and the broader Topix edged up by 0.61 percent. Elsewhere, the Kospi erased early gains to close down 0.06 percent at 2,476.11. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 1.04 percent by 2:45 p.m. HK/SIN while mainland markets closed mixed, with the Shanghai composite rising 0.34 percent to 3,174.14 while the Shenzhen composite shed 0.1 percent to close at 1,823.25. The blue-chip CSI 300 index finished the day higher by 0.94 percent. Oil prices steadied below 3-1/2 year highs on Monday as resistance emerged in Europe and Asia to U.S. sanctions against major crude exporter Iran, while rising U.S. drilling pointed to higher North American production. Brent crude was up 25 cents at $77.37 a barrel by 1205 GMT. U.S. light crude oil was up 7 cents at $70.75. Both oil futures contracts hit their highest since November 2014 last week at $78 and $71.89 a barrel respectively as markets anticipated a sharp fall in Iranian crude supply once U.S. sanctions bite later this year. Gold prices rose on Monday on the back of a subdued dollar as investors considered the prospects of fewer interest rate hikes in the United States this year. Spot gold was up 0.13 percent at $1,319.33 per ounce as of 8:14 a.m. ET, after marking the highest since April 26 at $1,325.96 in the previous session. U.S. gold futures for June delivery were down 0.11 percent at $1,319.30 per ounce.