Friday May 29th


Stock are set for a flat open ahead of Trump’s U.S.-China news conference

U.S. stock index futures slipped slightly early Friday morning as traders braced for an upcoming news conference on U.S.-China relations from President Donald Trump. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dipped 84 points, but the level implied an open of about 5 points higher. S&P 500 futures were off by 0.2% and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.2%. Trump said Thursday afternoon he would hold the news conference, knocking stocks down from solid gains. That announcement came after China approved a national security bill for Hong Kong that experts warn could endanger the city’s “one party, two systems” principle. That principle allows for additional freedoms that mainland China residents don’t have. JPMorgan strategist Marko Kolanovic, who called the comeback for the market in March, said Thursday evening he was turning more cautious because of a possible economic clash with China. “A complete breakdown of supply chains and international trade, primarily between the two largest economies (US and China), would justify equities trading drastically lower,” Kolanovic wrote. Tensions between China and the U.S. have risen lately as Trump criticizes the Chinese government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. U.S. lawmakers have also been critical of China increasing its stronghold over Hong Kong. Futures also fell after Salesforce issued disappointing guidance for the second quarter. The company expects earnings ranging between 66 cents a share and 67 cents a share. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings guidance of 74 cents per share. Salesforce shares dropped 4%. The Dow closed Thursday’s session down nearly 150 points, or 0.6%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite lost 0.2% and 0.5%, respectively. Paul Christopher, head of global market strategy at Wells Fargo, said he expects more rhetoric from the U.S. regarding Hong Kong and China, noting: “It could end up being a headwind once the market finishes pricing in all of this hopium.” Despite those losses, the major averages remained on pace for solid weekly gains. The Dow and S&P 500 are up more than 2.7% each week to date while the Nasdaq has advanced 0.5%. That weekly advance comes as traders increase bets on a successful reopening of the economy. “The market has discounted the coronavirus very quickly and has correctly predicted the apex of the virus,” said Mike Katz, partner at Seven Points Capital. “Having said all that, prices are up there. The S&P 500 trading above 3,000 is pricing in a full recovery.” “If there is a second wave of the virus that ends up being more detrimental than people think, then I would think the S&P 500 is not valued correctly,” said Katz. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will be speaking at 11 am ET at Princeton University. Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed on Friday as investors watched for market reaction to China’s controversial national security law for Hong Kong that was approved on Thursday. Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher on the day, with the Shenzhen component up 0.869% to about 10,746.08 while the Shanghai composite gained 0.22% to around 2852.35. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.7%, as of its final hour of trading. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.18% on the day to 21,877.89. The Topix index also shed 0.87% to close at 1,563.67. South Korea’s Kospi fnished its trading day slightly higher at 2,029.60. Oil came under pressure on Friday, the last trading day of month, but it’s still on pace to post its best month in history as an uptick in demand as well as record supply cuts have pushed prices higher. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. oil benchmark, is on track to finish May with a gain of 74%. To put the number in context, WTI’s second best month on record was Sept. 1990, when it gained 44.6%. Gold prices rose on Friday, supported by lingering U.S.-China trade tensions, while market participants cautiously awaited Washington’s response to the Chinese parliament’s approval of a national security law for Hong Kong. Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,727.18 an ounce. U.S. gold futures rose 0.6% to $1,739.40.