U.S. stock market index futures were flat Wednesday after the S&P 500 notched its highest closing level of 2023. Futures tied to the Dow-Jones rose 12 points, or 0.03%. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures ticked up 0.08% and 0.05%, respectively. The tail-end of earnings season pressed on with results from Dave & Busters but came in slightly below economists’ expectations. The deficit could translate into lower GDP growth for the second quarter. Stocks edged higher During Tuesday’s session. The broad index added 0.24% to finish at its highest level since August 2022, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.36% to end at its highest close in 2023. The Dow-Jones ticked 10.42 points higher, or 0.03%, pressured by health stocks Merck and United Health. Seven major S&P sectors finished Tuesday’s session with gains. The financial sector added 1.3%, boosted by regional banking stocks and bellwethers like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Tuesday’s uptrend trailed last week’s blowout rally. However, continued modest gains instead of sharp pullbacks after a major upswing could signal more good news ahead, said Adam Sarhan, CEO of 50 Park Investments. “The fact that it refuses to fall to me is extremely bullish,” he said. “Normally, after a big run up, you see a market pullback, and when the market doesn’t pull back and goes sideways, that to me is very bullish.” A light period for economic data continues ahead of next week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting, with trade balance data due out before the bell Wednesday. Earnings from Campbell Soup and Game Stop are also on deck. Asia-Pacific markets are trading mixed as the region looks to China’s May trade data and a speech from Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe, a day after Australia’s central bank defied expectations and raised its benchmark interest rate to its highest in 11 years. China’s trade data missed forecasts, customs data showed. Exports tumbled 7.5% year-on-year, sharply lower than the 0.4% fall expected, while imports saw a smaller fall of 4.5% year-on-year, compared to a 8% fall that was forecast. The country’s trade surplus in May was $65.81 billion, down 16.1%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.16% to record a second straight day of losses and end at 7,118, as Australia’s gross domestic product grew 2.3% in the first quarter of the year, the slowest rate of growth in 1½ years. The rally in Japanese stocks seemed to have taken a pause with the Nikkei 225 sliding 1.82% to 31,913.74, leading losses in the region and snapping a four day winning streak. The Topix saw a smaller loss of 1.34% to end at 2,206.3. South Korea’s markets came back from a public holiday all higher, with the Kospi climbing marginally to reach its highest level in about a year at 2,615.6 and the Kosdaq up by 1.2% to close at 880.72. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 0.6% in its final hour of trade, while mainland Chinese markets were more mixed. The Shanghai Composite rose marginally to end at 3,197.76, and the Shenzhen Component fell 0.6% to close at 10,708.82 and record its third straight day of losses. Oil prices edged higher on Wednesday as Saudi Arabia’s surprise weekend pledge to deepen output cuts outweighed weak Chinese export data and rising U.S. fuel stocks. Brent crude futures were up 75 cents, or 0.98%, at $77.04 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 77 cents, or 1.07%, to $72.51. Both benchmarks jumped more than $1 on Monday after Saudi Arabia’s decision over the weekend to reduce output by 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to 9 million bpd in July. Gold traded in a narrow range on Wednesday as traders refrained from making big bets while positioning for fresh economic data and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate strategy next week. Spot gold was down 0.23% at $1,961.39 per ounce. U.S. gold futures fell 0.22% to $1,977.20. The dollar inched 0.2% lower, supporting bullion. A stronger dollar makes gold cheaper in foreign currencies.
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