Thursday January 24th


Stock futures fall after Commerce Secretary says US and China still far away on trade deal

U.S. stock index futures fell on Thursday after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said China and the U.S. were not close to striking a trade deal. Around 8:43 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 19 points, erasing a slight gain from earlier in the day. S&P 500 futures also turned lower on the comments.  Ross told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the U.S. is “miles and miles ” from a trade deal with China, adding the two countries have “lots and lots of issues.” China and the U.S. are trying to strike a trade deal before the beginning of March. If they don’t, additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods will come into effect. The two countries have been engaged in a trade war since last year. Investors also digested a monetary policy decision by the European Central Bank. The ECB kept rates unchanged on Thursday, adding it expects to keep them at current levels through the summer and “longer, if necessary. ” This gathering comes less than a week before the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting. Elsewhere, politics continues to add jitters to markets, whether that’s international woes surrounding Brexit or more domestic concerns such as trade talks with China. One topic that is expected to be front and center on Thursday however is the ongoing government shutdown. In the latest surrounding the topic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Democrats would block President Donald Trump from delivering his State of the Union address until the government reopened — an  announcement that Trump complied with. On Thursday, the Senate is slated to vote on a pair of bills, which could lead to terminating the month-long partial shutdown – that is, if they are passed. Most Asian markets closed higher on Thursday amid uncertainties surrounding the global economic outlook as well as the ongoing U.S.-China trade fight. The mainland Chinese markets, watched in relation to the ongoing trade fight between Beijing and Washington, recovered from earlier losses. The Shanghai composite rose around 0.4 percent to close at about 2,591.69 and the Shenzhen component advanced 0.661 percent to finish its trading day at approximately 7,573.52. The Shenzhen composite gained 0.457 percent to close at about 1,322.30. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also climbed by more than 0.2 percent, as of its final hour of trading. Japan’s Nikkei 225, however, closed fractionally lower at 20,574.63, down by 0.09 percent. The Topix index recovered from earlier losses to finish its trading day 0.36 percent higher at 1,552.60. Over in South Korea, the Kospi rose 0.81 percent to close at 2,145.03. Oil prices fell on Thursday as concern over the global economy reasserted itself, reversing earlier gains on the potential for U.S. sanctions on Venezuela. Brent crude futures were down 46 cents at $60.68 a barrel around 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT), while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures fell 26 cents to $52.36. Gold fell on Thursday, weighed down by a stronger dollar and an uptick in equities, as investors awaited cues on the health of the economy from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi’s statement later in the day. Spot gold slipped 0.27 percent to $1,278.41 an ounce at 8:44 a.m. ET. U.S. gold futures were down 0.51 percent at $1,277.50.