Wednesday April 11th


Dow set to drop more than 200 points after Trump taunts Russia to 'get ready' for missiles coming to Syria

U.S. stock index futures dropped ahead of the open on Wednesday after President Donald Trump taunted Russia on Twitter to "get ready" for a possible missile strike on Syria. Around 8:30 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 207 points, indicating a drop of 232 points at the open. Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 futures also indicated a negative start to Wednesday's session for their respective markets. Trump said in a tweet: "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!" The president's threat comes after Russia's ambassador to Lebanon told local media that Russia would shoot down American missiles headed Syria's way. This follows an alleged chemical weapons attack by President Bashar Assad that killed dozens in a rebel-held area over the weekend. The moves in premarket trading came after Wall Street saw strong gains during Tuesday's session, with the Dow rallying more than 400 points to close up at 24,408. Market sentiment was upbeat Tuesday after Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed plans to further open up his country's economy, suggesting measures that included lowering import tariffs on products including autos. Talk of a potential trade war continues to rattle sentiment, while Facebook kept Wall Street preoccupied Tuesday as the tech giant's CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees. He said that Facebook didn't notify the Federal Trade Commission about the data leak surrounding Cambridge Analytica, as they considered it a closed case years ago. Zuckerberg is due to speak to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday morning. Turmoil within the U.S. administration will remain a focus, following news that the FBI raided the New York office and residence of Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen on Monday. In data, the consumer price index fell 0.1 percent in March. Economists polled by Reuters expected a gain of 0.2 percent. The minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's March meeting are due to be released at 2 p.m. ET. No speeches by the Federal Reserve are scheduled for Wednesday. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 slipped after closing higher in the past two sessions. The index closed down 0.49 percent, or 107.22 points, at 21,687.10. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi finished lower by 0.27 percent at 2,444.22 as gains seen earlier in the day fizzled out while the junior Kosdaq advanced 0.92 percent. Greater China markets traded higher, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tacking on 0.53 percent by 3:02 p.m. HK/SIN on the back of gains in the energy and materials sectors. The Shanghai composite rose by 0.56 percent to 3,208.32 and the smaller Shenzhen composite added 0.53 percent to end at 1,850.97. Oil held near its highest in nearly three years on Wednesday, supported by political tension in the Middle East, although evidence of rising U.S. crude supply acted as a counterbalance. Brent crude has gained 5.7 percent this week, rising to $71.34 a barrel on Tuesday, the highest since late 2014, although the price has since fallen back and was $70.98 a barrel by 0907 GMT, down 6 cents. U.S. crude futures were at $65.55 a barrel, up 4 cents on the day. Gold rose for a fourth day on Wednesday as concerns over escalating tensions in Syria, U.S. sanctions on Russia and the U.S.-China trade stand-off weighed on stock markets and helped knock the dollar index to a two-week low. The metal reached its strongest in a week as appetite for nominally lower-risk assets sharpened. Palladium, which has also benefited from fears sanctions on Russia could hurt supply, rose further after climbing nearly 6 percent in the last two days. Spot gold was up 0.5 percent at $1,345.80 an ounce by 0957 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were 0.2 percent higher at $1,349.10 an ounce.