Friday March 1st


Dow futures rise more than 150 points as Wall Street's roaring start to 2019 continues

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a strong open on Friday, the first day of March, as Wall Street looked to build on its best start to a year in nearly 30 years. At around 8:10 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated a gain of more than 170 points at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were also up sharply. The moves in the premarket come a day after the major indexes posted solid monthly gains in February, pushing the S&P 500 to its best start to a year since 1991. The S&P 500 is up more than 11 percent for the year, along with the Dow. The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, is up 13.5 percent. Decreasing trade tensions between China and the U.S., along with a declining fears of tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, helped propel stocks higher to kick off 2019. Bloomberg News reported Thursday that U.S. officials are getting a final trade deal ready for President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign around mid-March. That report came after White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told CNBC the two countries are making "fantastic" progress in their negotiations. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also told CNBC the two side have "made a lot of progress." But while stocks have been on a tear the first two months of the year, they have traded in a tighter range recently. The S&P 500 was down for the week through Thursday's close as the index tries to break above 2,800, a level closely watched by investors and traders. Market participants are likely to closely monitor a fresh batch of economic data on Friday. Personal income, consumer spending and core PCE figures for December and January will be released at around 8:30 a.m. ET. Manufacturing PMI, ISM manufacturing, and consumer sentiment data are all expected to follow later in the session. Mainland China markets saw gains on the first trading day of March after soaring in February, with the Shanghai composite seeing its largest monthly gain in almost four years. The Shanghai composite advanced 1.8 percent to close at 2,994.00, while the Shenzhen component rose 1.503 percent to finish its trading week at 9,167.65. The Shenzhen composite also added 1.197 percent on the day to close at 1,564.84. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index edged up 0.45 percent in its final hour of trading. Elsewhere in Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.02 percent to close at 21,602.69 and the Topix added 0.5 percent to finish its trading day at 1,615.72. South Korea's markets, which tanked on Thursday following the abrupt end to the summit between U.S. President Donald Trumpand North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, were closed on Friday for a holiday. Oil prices slipped on Friday as surging U.S. supply and concerns of global economic slowdown kept a lid on further gains. International Brent crude futures were at $66.15 per barrel, down 15 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last settlement. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $57.06 per barrel, down 16 cents, or 0.3 percent. Gold slipped to two-week lows and was set for its biggest weekly fall in nearly four months on Friday, pressured by a reviving dollar and rising stocks. Spot gold is down about 1.4 percent so far this week, which could be its biggest weekly decline since the week ending November 9. It was down 0.44 percent at $1,306.77 an ounce at 8:08 a.m. ET, having touched its lowest since Feb. 14 at $1,305.53. U.S. gold futures shed 0.6 percent to $1,308.20.