Tuesday May 8th

8-05-2018

US stocks set for a tepid open as Trump’s decision on nuclear deal nears

U.S. stock index futures slipped ahead of Tuesday's open, as markets around the world turned their attention to the U.S. administration and the future of the country's involvement in the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran. Around 8:15 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 52 points, indicating a lower open of 50.32 points. Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 futures also indicated a lower start to the session for their respective markets. The moves in premarket trade come as global markets remain on edge, awaiting an announcement by President Donald Trump on the future of an international nuclear agreement. In the past, Trump has often threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran deal — which lifted sanctions on the Middle Eastern nation, in return for the country to pull back on its nuclear ambitions — unless allies in Europe amend what he sees as shortcomings of the agreement. In spite of the U.S. incumbent's threats to pull out, President Hassan Rouhani stated that Iran had a plan to counter any move made by Trump when it comes to the deal; Reuters reported. While it is widely expected that the U.S. president will withdraw the country from the accord, Rouhani said Tuesday that Iran would continue to seek "constructive relations with the world," despite potential sanctions. Overseas, Asian markets finished the session on a mostly positive note, while in Europe, stocks were under slight pressure during trade. The Nikkei 225 reversed early weakness to close higher by 0.18 percent, or 41.53 points, at 22,508.69 and the Topix edged up by 0.37 percent, with 25 of its 33 subindexes closing higher. Across the Korean Strait, the benchmark Kospi slipped 0.47 percent to close at 2,449.81. Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index advanced 1.4 percent by 3:00 p.m. amid broad-based gains. Mainland markets also saw convincing gains, with the Shanghai composite closing higher by 0.8 percent at 3,161.60 and the Shenzhen composite edging up by 0.77 percent to 1,836.22. In central banking news, Fed Chair Jerome Powell delivered remarks in Zurich Tuesday. At the Swiss National Bank and International Monetary Fund's High Level Conference, the chair of the U.S. central bank said that the Fed's interest rate hikes may not end up having as great of a risk on emerging market economies and stock markets as many had initially thought. Powell added that the central bank would however continue to communicate its policies clearly, to avoid market disruptions. Oil prices retreated from 3-1/2 year highs on Tuesday as investors waited on an announcement by President Donald Trump on whether the United States will reimpose sanctions on Iran. Should Trump pull the United States out of a multi-nation agreement on Tehran's nuclear programme, Iranian crude exports could be hit, adding to tightness in the oil market, which is coming back into balance after years of glut. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures had dropped 66 cents, or nearly 1 percent, to $70.07 a barrel by 9:04 a.m. ET (1304 GMT). They settled above $70 for the first time since November 2014 on Monday. Brent crude futures were down 49 cents at $75.68, having jumped 1.7 percent to settle at $76.17 a barrel in the previous session. Gold slipped on Tuesday as the dollar surged to a new 2018 high against its rivals, though losses were limited by worries the United States may be set to pull out of a key nuclear accord with Iran. Spot gold was down 0.24 percent at $1,310.76 per ounce at 8:28 a.m. ET. The precious metal has lost some 3.5 percent of its value over the last three weeks. U.S. gold futures for June delivery were down 0.19 percent at $1,311.60 per ounce.