Wednesday January 4th


Wall Street set for higher open as investors eye Dow hitting elusive 20,000 mark

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday as traders digested a bullish start to the year in the previous session. The Dow Jones industrial average rose around 120 points on Tuesday with Walt Disney and Goldman Sachs contributing most of the gains. Light vehicle sales data for December are the only major figures scheduled for release on Wednesday. On the earnings front, UniFirst are set to report before the bell with Sonic expected to report after the market close. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was around 0.11 percent lower on Wednesday. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite in China closed 0.76 percent higher, while the Nikkei in Japan closed 2.51 percent higher. In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $55.68 a barrel on Wednesday, up 0.38 percent, while U.S. crude was around $52.55 a barrel, up 0.42 percent. Oil rose slightly on Wednesday, boosted by increased expectations that Saudi Arabia would stick to planned supply cuts and increase oil prices. However, significant gains appeared limited by a strong U.S. dollar as well as modest economic growth prospects. Gold touched a near-four week high on Wednesday as the dollar edged back from a 14-year peak and physical demand from major consumers China and India increased. Spot gold climbed to its highest since Dec. 9 at $1,167.52 an ounce and was up 0.6 percent at $1,165.54. U.S. gold futures climbed $4.20 to $1,166.10 an ounce. "The dollar index has consolidated and the big outflow from exchange-traded products (ETPs), which has been the biggest headwind for gold in the past few months, has stopped recently," Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said. Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, dropped 1 percent to 813.87 tonnes on Tuesday. Holdings are down about 14 percent since the U.S. presidential election in November.