Friday October 7th


Wall Street digest FED minutes

U.S. stock index futures indicated a slightly higher open on Friday, with traders set to continue digesting Thursday's release of the minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's September meeting and looking to next week, when earnings season will begin in earnest. The Fed minutes indicated policymakers were concerned about reaching their inflation target of 2 percent as well as the impact of the global economic slowdown. The minutes said policymakers don't expect to reach their inflation goal before the end of 2018. New York Fed President William Dudley is due to speak to CNBC today at 11:00 a.m. ET. Separately, the Atlanta Fed's Dennis Lockhart and the Chicago Fed's Charles Evans are also scheduled to speak. On the data front, import prices fell 0.1 percent in September, less than the expected 0.5 percent drop. However, export prices fell 0.7 percent, more than the 0.2 percent forecast by economists. Wholesale trade data is due at 10:00 a.m. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was around 0.85 percent higher on Friday morning. No significant earnings are expected today. Asian stocks marched higher on Friday, following a positive lead from Wall Street, fueled by dovish signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve minutes. Expectations that U.S. interest rates will remain near zero for the time being boosted the Nikkei 225, Japan's benchmark index, which closed up 1.6 percent at 18,438,67. Oil extended gains on Friday and was set for its biggest weekly rise in over six years, after U.S. Federal Reserve minutes suggested there was no hurry to raise interest rates and an influential forecaster predicted a price rally. Brent, the global benchmark, was up 45 cents, or 0.85 percent, at $53.50 a barrel at 7:48 a.m. EDT (1148 GMT), on track to rise 11 percent this week alone. U.S. crude was up 76 cents, or 1.5 percent, at $50.19 a barrel, after earlier touching $50.92, the highest level in more than two months. Gold climbed about 1 percent on Friday in a delayed reaction to minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting that showed the U.S. central bank was in no hurry to hike rates. Spot gold was up 1.33 percent at $1,153.71 an ounce. On Thursday, prices had rallied only briefly after the Fed minutes before closing down 0.6 percent despite a softer dollar.