Wednesday October 18th


Futures point to a positive open as American Express, eBay earnings take center stage

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open Wednesday, as investors turned their attention to new data releases and corporate earnings reports. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 92 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 4.5 points and 5.75 points, respectively. Major earnings are set to dominate some discussion on Wall Street, as eBay and American Express, among others, are scheduled to post their latest financial figures. Another point of discussion Wednesday will likely be the performance of U.S. markets in general. In the previous session, the Dow Jones industrial average broke above 23,000 for the first time on an intraday basis, and closed just below the 23,000 of the mark. The U.S. central bank's latest publication of the Beige Book will also be in focus; which is set to come out at 2 p.m. ET. The publication is expected to shed light on the U.S. Federal Reserve's thoughts on present economic conditions. Elsewhere, housing starts and building permits areboth due at 8:30 a.m. E.T. On Tuesday, CNBC came to learn that U.S. President Donald Trump would likely announce his pick for who would take up the position of Fed Chair at the start of next month. At present, reports suggest that there are currently five candidates in the running for the role, including current Chair Janet Yellen, whose term expires early 2018. Elsewhere, oil prices posted gains in morning trade, boosted by news that U.S. crude inventories had recently declined. At 8:23 a.m. ET on Wednesday, prices ticked higher with U.S. crude trading at $52.09 per barrel and Brent hovering around $58.33. Overseas, European stocks were posting gains in market trade, while markets in Asia closed mixed to lower. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed higher for a 12th straight session after tacking on 0.13 percent, or 26.93 points, to finish the session at 21,363.05. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi reversed early gains and slid 0.06 percent to close at 2,482.91 as gains made by automakers were offset by falls in blue-chip tech names. Greater China markets were stable as the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China commenced in Beijing. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was off 0.04 percent by 3:12 p.m. HK/SIN. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite advanced 0.28 percent to close at 3,381.3691 and the Shenzhen Composite lost 0.396 percent to end at 2,000.1097. Singapore and Malaysia markets are closed for a public holiday. Gold fell for a third straight session on Wednesday on pressure from a firmer dollar amid speculation that the next U.S. Fed chair may be a policy hawk. Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,280.13 an ounce, earlier touching its lowest since Oct. 9 at $1,279. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were off 0.3 percent at $1,282 per ounce.