Thursday February 21st


Stocks futures slip after weaker-than-expected economic data

U.S. stock futures dipped to their lows of the day on Thursday following the release of weaker-than-expected economic data. At around 8:35 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down around 49 points, indicating a loss of 34 points at the open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also dipped. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve business index fell to negative 4.1 in February from 17 in January. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a print of 14. Durable goods orders for December, meanwhile, rose 1.2 percent, the Commerce Department said. The department also said core capital goods orders fell 0.7 percent while economists polled by Reuters expected a gain of 0.2 percent. The data come as trade talks between China and the U.S. continue in Washington. Reports early Thursday morning said Washington and Beijing have begun drawing up memorandums of understandingover trade. Officials from both countries met for talks this week and higher-level discussions are set to be held on Thursday and Friday. The U.S. and China are trying to resolve their differences over trade ahead of a March 1 deadline. However, speculation has risen that there may be an extension to that target, after President Donald Trump said it was not a "magical date." Investors also digested the minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting. The central bank highlighted downside risks to the economy from its January meeting. Those risks included "the possibilities of a sharper-than-expected slowdown in global economic growth," a "rapid waning of fiscal policy stimulus" and "further tightening of financial market conditions." Stocks in Asia were mixed on Thursday following an earlier slip in the morning as traders digest a release from the Federal Reserve. Mainland Chinese shares saw losses on the day after a turbulent session which saw stocks swinging between positive and negative territory. The Shanghai composite slipped 0.34 percent to close at 2,751.80 while the Shenzhen component declined 0.256 percent to finish its trading day at 8,451.71. The Shenzhen composite shed 0.269 percent to close at 1,444.35. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose around 0.3 percent in its final hour of trading. Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.15 percent to close at 21,464.23 while the Topix ended its trading day largely flat at 1,613.50. The Kospi in South Korea closed slightly lower at 2,228.66. Oil prices hovered around 2019 highs on Thursday, bolstered by OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, but were capped by slowing growth in the global economy. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures were at $57.06 a barrel around 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT), 10 cents below their last settlement. WTI hit a fresh 2019 high of $57.61 earlier in the day. Brent crude futures eased by 9 cents to $66.99 after touching a 2019 peak on Wednesday at $67.38. Oil prices have been driven up this year by supply cuts led by OPEC. Gold slipped on Thursday from a 10-month high hit the previous session, after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last meeting kindled expectations of an interest rate hike this year, while palladium retreated from an all-time peak. Spot gold fell 0.14 percent to $1,336.52 per ounce at 8:37 a.m. ET, having hit $1,346.73 the previous session, its highest level since April 19. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.65 percent to $1,339.10.