Thursday October 19th


Dow futures fall 97 points as stocks look to pull back from record highs

U.S. stock index futures  pointed to a lower open Thursday, as investors braced for a pullback from record levels. Wall Street also tried to shake off negative sentiment coming from the European political space. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 97 points. Shares of Dow-component Nike fell 1.9 percent in the premarket after analysts at Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to neutral from buy. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 11.75 points and 39.50 points, respectively. The pullback in the futures market took place exactly 30 years after "Black Monday," the worst day in the history of the U.S. stock market. On that day, the S&P 500 plunged 20.5 percent and the Dow dropped 22.6 percent. CFRA strategist Sam Stovall said in a note this week the S&P's daily price chart this year looks "eerily" like that of 1987, but that's about the only similarity between the market then and now. The Dow rose sharply on Wednesday to close above 23,000 for the first time. In Europe, the Spanish central government stated that it would move to suspend Catalonia's autonomy after regional leader Carles Puigdemont failed to drop a bid for independence or provide clarity on the matter. The government went on to add that it would therefore "continue with the procedures provided for in Article 155 of the constitution to restore legality in the self-government of Catalonia," according to a statement published on the Spanish government's website. Meaning, the government is set to meet Saturday to propose measures to strip Catalonia of some powers and officially trigger Article 155. The news out of Spain weighed on European equities. The German Dax slipped 0.8 percent, while the FTSE 100 fell 0.6 percent. Spain's Ibex 35 pulled back 0.9 percent. Switching back to the States, in data news, jobless claims totaled 222,000, below the expected 240,000. and the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing business outlook survey hit a five-month high. Meanwhile, in the central banks sphere, the question of who will be named as the next chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve continues to linger at the back of investors' minds. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump would likely announce his decision on who will take on the role in the "coming days," according to Reuters. Major indexes in Asia closed mixed on Thursday as investors digested a barrage of economic data releases out of China. The Nikkei 225 climbed 0.4 percent, or 85.47 points, to close at 21,448.52. The benchmark index has closed higher for 13 consecutive sessions now. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi declined 0.4 percent to close at 2,473.06. Greater China markets finished the session lower as investors digested the release of economic data earlier in the session. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled sharply late in the session to close down 1.92 percent, or 552.67 points, at 28,159.09. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite slid 0.35 percent to close off session lows at 3,370.0953 and the Shenzhen Composite fell 0.82 percent to end at 1,983.7179. Oil prices slipped on Thursday but held onto most of their recent gains, supported by expectations that exporters will extend OPEC-led supply cuts, tension in the Middle East and lower U.S. production. Brent crude futures were down $1.04, or 1.8 percent, at $57.11 by 9:02 a.m. ET (1302 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 90 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $51.14 per barrel. Gold prices edged up on Thursday after hitting the lowest level in more than a week, driven down earlier by a firm dollar. Spot gold rose 0.43 percent to $1,286.28 an ounce by 8:43 a.m. ET, after earlier hitting its lowest since Oct. 9 at $1,276.22. The precious metal has lost 6 percent since September 8. U.S. gold futures for December delivery rose 0.39 percent at $1,287.90.