Monday November 23rd


Futures mixed as oil struggles to hold gains

U.S. stock index futures indicated a flat to slightly higher open on Monday, amid a spike in oil prices and ahead of key data in the shortened Thanksgiving holiday week. Ahead of Thursday's national holiday, which is historically positive for the market, one data focus will be the second reading of third-quarter GDP (gross domestic product) on Tuesday. Analysts expect to see an upward revision to the initial estimate. Oil prices briefly turned higher on Monday after the Saudi Cabinet stressed the country's role in the stability of the oil market. West Texas Intermediate struggled to hold gains in choppy trade, holding slightly lower below $42 a barrel as of 8:15 a.m., ET. Earlier, WTI spiked more than 1 percent after falling nearly 2 percent. The internationally-traded Brent benchmark pared gains to trade about 0.5 percent higher. Other commodities, including iron ore, zinc and nickel, were trading lower on concerns of slowing demand in China. Copper fell to more than a six-year low. Gold fell on Monday towards the near six-year low it reached last week on a robust dollar and upbeat comments from Federal Reserve officials on a possible U.S. rate hike next month. Spot gold was down 0.63 percent at $1,070.61 an ounce by, down for a 13th session in the 16 trading days this month. The metal hit $1,064.95 last week, the lowest since February 2010. Data releases scheduled for Monday include the Chicago Federal Reserve national activity index at 8:30 a.m. followed by existing home sales at 10:00 a.m. Stocks usually gain in the week of Thanksgiving, according to analytics service Kensho. The S&P 500, in the last 10 years, has averaged a gain of 1.9 percent during the week and has been positive six times. One possible negative for the week ahead could be further selling in oil, which has dipped below $40 several times in the past week. San Francisco Fed President John Williams said there is a strong case for the Fed to begin raising short-term interest rates over the weekend. The dollar climbed following his comments, with the greenback trading around $1.06 against the euro early Monday. The Fed's meeting is due December 15 and 16, and the most important piece of U.S. data central bank officials will get before that meeting is the November jobs report December 4. On the earnings front, Tyson Foods, GameStop and MOL Global are due to report before market open, while numbers from Palo Alto Networks come after the bell. In Europe, equities traded lower as traders watch a continued slide in oil prices and other commodities. Asian markets closed mixed on Monday, following a rally on Wall Street last week as investors continue to look out for comments from central bankers on the trajectory of U.S. monetary policy. The Japanese market remained closed for Labor Thanksgiving day. The Chinese market bucked the generally positive trend across rest of Asia to close in the red on Monday.