Monday October 21st


Stock futures point to slightly higher open amid trade hopes

U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher Monday amid optimism around U.S.-China trade talks and Brexit. Around 7:10 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated gain of 54 points at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were both slightly higher. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said over the weekend Beijing would work with the U.S. to address one another’s trade concerns. He also said both sides have made “substantial progress” on trade. China’s chief negotiator in the trade talks also said that stopping the trade war would be good for both countries — as well as the global economy. His comments came after President Donald Trump said Oct. 11 that China and the U.S. had reached a phase one of a bilateral trade agreement. Trump has also said he hopes a trade deal between the U.S. and China will be signed by the time the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting takes place in Chile in mid-November. Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reluctantly pushing for a Brexit extension after Parliament postponed a vote Saturday to approve a deal on the country’s divorce from the European Union. Investors were also focused on the corporate earnings season, with more than 120 S&P 500 companies on deck to report. McDonald’s, Ford Motor, Boeing and Caterpillar are among the companies set to release their results. The earnings season got off to a strong start last week with more than 81% of the companies reporting then beating expectations. To be sure, companies are beating muted expectations. “Q3 earnings season so far is not as strong as the headlines indicate,” said Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, in a note. “Yes, Q3 earnings reports have been good thus far ... But the amounts of these ‘beats’ on the bottom line are smaller than usual, even as revenues are actually better than expected.” Cadence Design Systems, Celanese and Zions Bancorp are among some of the companies poised to report their latest quarterly figures after the market close Monday. Asia Pacific markets traded mixed on Monday as Brexit developments over the weekend created further uncertainty over the United Kingdom’s impending departure from the European Union. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.25% to 22,548.90 while the Topix index added 0.41% to 1,628.60. South Korea’s Kospi finished up 0.2% at 2,064.84 while Australia’s ASX 200 closed near flat at 6,652.50. Mainland Chinese shares traded down: The Shanghai composite closed near flat, the Shenzhen composite declined 0.11% to 1,614.87 and the Shenzhen component advanced 0.21% to 9,553.57. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index traded near flat in later-afternoon trade. Oil fell on Monday as concerns about economic growth combined with signs of ample global supplies pressured prices, outweighing bullish signals from Europe, where fears of an economically damaging no-deal Brexit have eased. Global benchmark Brent crude was down 56 cents at $58.86 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil declined 38 cents to $53.40 a barrel. Gold prices were steady on Monday, holding in a narrow range as traders awaited more clarity on Brexit and U.S.-China trade ties. Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,490.94 per ounce. U.S. gold futures were little changed at 1,494.20.