Thursday April 5th

5-04-2018

Dow set to rise 150 points at the open as investors shake off trade concerns

U.S. stock index futures posted solid gains ahead of Thursday's open, following a roller coaster session seen during the previous trading day. Around 7:20 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 108 points, indicating a jump of 150 points at the open. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 futures also indicated a positive start to Thursday's session for their respective markets. Tech helped lead the move higher in the premarket, with Facebook jumping nearly 4 percent and Netflix, Amazon and Alphabet all rising more than 1 percent. The moves in premarket trade come after a wild trading day on Wall Street Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up over 200 points, having rallied more than 700 points from its session low. Other major indexes erased losses to finish on a positive note too. Markets have been on edge during recent sessions amid concerns of a potential trade war between China and the U.S. On Wednesday, China announced fresh tariffs on 106 U.S. products, including cars, whisky and soybeans — less than 24 hours after the U.S. administration issued a list of Chinese imports that it would target. Stocks bounced back however as the U.S. administration tried to play down concerns over a trade war between the two major consumer nations. Another topic of key importance to investors is surrounding the topic of technology. While market watchers will be keeping an eye on what President Donald Trump says about Amazon, the main talk of the town is likely to be Facebook. On Wednesday, the social media giant stated that it believes the majority of Facebook users who had a certain search function authorized, will likely have had their profile data scraped by third-party groups. This comes as Facebook also admitted that political analytics firm Cambridge Analytica had accessed data from up to 87 million users, compared to previous reports of just 50 million. Switching focus to economic data, initial U.S. jobless claims jumped by 24,000 to 242,000 in the seven days ended March 31, the government said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast claims to total 225,000, but remains extremely low and reflect the best labor market in decades. The first two months of the year have seen a rapid expansion in jobs, but economists are expecting March growth will come in slower. Meanwhile, the U.S. trade deficit rose 1.6% in February and remained near a 10-year high, underscoring the seemingly near impossible task of the Trump administration to dramatically reduce the gap as the president has vowed. Following the positive bounce back on Wall Street, international markets were provided a lift Thursday, with Europe and Asia both trading higher. Japan's Nikkei 225 advanced 1.53 percent, or 325.87 points, to 21,645.42, closing above its 200-day moving average. Meanwhile, the Kospi tacked on 1.22 percent to finish at 2,437.52, driven by gains in the tech sector as heavyweight Samsung Electronics surged 3.88 percent. Gains were also seen elsewhere in the region, with Singapore's Straits Times Index up by 2 percent. Hong Kong, China and Taiwan markets were closed for the Ching Ming Festival on Thursday. Oil prices steadied on Thursday as an easing of trade tensions between the United States and China and a surprise draw in U.S. crude inventories last week supported the market. Front-month Brent crude for June delivery was down 9 cents at $67.93 at 8:07 a.m. ET (1207 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery was down 18 cents at $63.19 a barrel. Gold prices fell on Thursday, pulling back from one-week highs reached the session before, as risk appetite recovered after the United States expressed willingness to resolve an escalating trade fight with China. As investors pulled out of gold, Asian equities rebounded from two-month lows with investors hoping a full-blown trade war between the world's two biggest economies can be averted. Spot gold was down 0.32 percent at $1,328.66 per ounce by 8:20 a.m. EST, after touching a one-week high of $1,348.06 on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures for June delivery fell 0.6 percent to $1,332.60 an ounce.