Tuesday June 25th


Stock futures little changed as Wall Street awaits Fed’s Powell remarks

U.S. stock index futures were little changed Tuesday morning as investors awaited commentary from the top Federal Reserve official. At around 7:10 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slipped 23 points, indicating a marginal gain at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 also traded slightly lower. Fed Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak at the Council on Foreign Relations at 1 p.m. ET. Powell is expected to discuss the Fed’s outlook on the economy and monetary policy. Powell’s remarks come after the Fed kept interest rates unchanged last week and said it will “act as appropriate” to maintain the current economic expansion. This led traders to price in a 100% probability of the Fed cutting rates next month.  Other Fed officials scheduled to speak Tuesday include New York Fed President John Williams, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard. Investors are also anticipating a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week. The meeting between Trump and Xi will be the first face-to-face meeting for the leaders since trade talks broke down in May, leading to a hike in U.S. tariffs on imports of Chinese goods. Bloomberg reported that U.S. officials sought to lower expectations for the meeting by insisting the U.S. would not change its stance on China implementing significant economic reforms. Washington and Beijing have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of one another’s goods since the start of 2018, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment. New home sales for May for May will be released at around 10:00 a.m. ET, with consumer confidence figures, Richmond Fed survey data and Dallas Fed services for June set to follow slightly later in the session. Stocks in Asia slipped on Tuesday, while investors looked toward a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping set to happen later in the week. Mainland Chinese stocks recovered partially from their earlier tumble but still slipped on the day: The Shanghai composite shed 0.87% to 2,982.07 and Shenzhen component fell 1.02% to 9,118.10. The Shenzhen composite also declined 0.992% to 1,560.46. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index slipped 1.21%, as of its final hour of trading. The Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 0.43% to close at 21,193.81, while the Topix shed 0.27% to finish its trading day at 1,543.49. Over in South Korea, the Kospi ended its trading day 0.22% lower at 2,121.64. Oil prices hung in the balance on Tuesday as concerns over declining crude demand were offset by risks to supply linked to new U.S. sanctions on Iran. Benchmark Brent crude futures were down 12 cents at $64.74 a barrel by 0832 GMT. U.S. crude futures were up 3 cents at $57.93 a barrel. Gold scaled a six-year peak on Tuesday as a weaker dollar, prospects of monetary easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve and simmering U.S.-Iran tensions continued to stoke bullish sentiment in the market. The precious metal has leapt 10% in four weeks, breaking above technical resistance which has thwarted every rally for half a decade to finally rise above $1,400. Spot gold hit its highest since May 2013 at $1,438.63 earlier on Tuesday, before easing slightly to stand $1,429 per ounce, up 0.7% on the day. The market is set for a sixth consecutive session of gains and has gained 9.6% so far this month. The metal has added around $100 in the past week alone. U.S. gold futures jumped 1.1% to $1,436.20 an ounce.