Wednesday May 31st


Fed news, politics, data set the agenda on Wall Street; oil eyed

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open Wednesday, as investors geared up for more data, while keeping a close eye on what's happening in the political sphere globally. Dow futures rose nearly 30 points, while S&P and Nasdaq futures advanced 4 points and 20 points, respectively. On Wednesday, the U.S. central bank is set to release its latest installment of the Beige Book, slated to come out at 2 p.m. ET. The report comes just weeks before the Fed is set to meet to discuss its monetary policy, with many analysts pricing in an interest rate hike at its June meeting. Sticking with the Fed, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and San Francisco Fed President John Williams are both expected to speak at separate engagements on Wednesday. Elsewhere in data, investors will be on the lookout for the latest Chicago PMI figures, due out at 9:45 a.m. ET, followed by pending home sales, expected at 10 a.m. ET. On the earnings front, Michael Kors saw its stock decline more than 4 percent after posting quarterly results. Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Box are slated to report after the close. Meanwhile, bourses in Europe traded mostly higher on Wednesday despite political uncertainty. Sterling was under pressure on Wednesday after a YouGov poll suggested late Tuesday that U.K. Prime Minister and her Conservative party could fall short of winning a majority at the upcoming general election, due next Thursday. Elsewhere in markets, Asia finished mixed as investors digested official PMI figures from China and eyed the moves in sterling. In Asia, the Nikkei 225 edged down by 0.14 percent or 27.28 points to close at 19,650.57 while the Kospi reversed earlier losses to finish 0.16 percent or 3.7 points higher at 2,347.38. The S&P/ASX 200 ended the session 0.12 percent or 6.714 points higher at 5,724.6. Chinese markets were mixed after the long weekend. The Hang Seng Index traded flat at 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite edged higher by 0.24 percent or 7.4218 points to close at 3,117.4805 and the Shenzhen Composite dipped 0.1 percent or 1.8089 points to close at 1,808.3019. On the oil front, prices continue to show signs of being under pressure, as rising output from Libya and concerns surrounding U.S. production weighed on sentiment, with investors concerned about the glut in the market. U.S. crude and Brent each traded at least 2 percent down at 8 a.m. ET, with WTI at $48.46 and Brent at $50.33. Gold held steady on Wednesday as investors weighed the increasing risk of a U.S. interest rate increase next month against the simmering geopolitical tensions that have been supporting bullion. Spot gold edged up 0.29 percent at $1,266.40 per ounce after slipping earlier in the day. It closed 0.3 percent lower on Tuesday after rising to a one-month high of $1,270.47. U.S. gold futures for August delivery were up 0.29 percent at $1,269.40. U.S. interest rate futures on Tuesday indicated a nearly 89 percent chance of a June rate rise, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.