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Wall Street points to higher open as oil aims for $50 a barrel

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Wall Street points to higher open as oil aims for $50 a barrel – U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday, continuing a risk-on rally in global equities as oil prices approached the key $50-a-barrel level.

The blue-chip Dow futures rose 61 points, or 0.34%, by 10:54GMT, or 6:54AM ET, the S&P 500 futures tacked on 8 points, or 0.37%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures added 21 points, or 0.46%. Wall Street rallied on Tuesday as optimism grew the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand higher interest rates.

Oil prices climbed to a fresh seven-month high Wednesday amid speculation weekly supply data due later in the session will show U.S. crude inventories fell at a faster pace than expected last week.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on oil supplies at 14:30GMT, or 10:30AM ET, amid expectations for a drop of 2.5 million barrels.
U.S. crude was up 54 cents, or 1.11%, to $49.16 a barrel during morning hours in New York, while Brent advanced 62 cents, or 1.28%, at $49.23.

Meanwhile, market players will pay close attention to comments from a number of Federal Reserve officials later in the day for further hints on the timing of a U.S. rate hike.
Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker speaks on the economy at an event in Philadelphia at 13:00GMT, or 9:00AM ET. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari is due to deliver comments at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in North Dakota at 15:40GMT, or 11:40AM ET, while Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan speaks in Houston at 18:00GMT, or 2:00PM ET.

Besides the Fed speakers, traders will focus on an advanced read on international trade for April at 12:30GMT, or 8:30AM ET, and FHFA home prices due at 13:00GMT, or 9:00AM ET.
Odds of a Fed rate hike for June stood at nearly 40% Wednesday morning, up from 30% a day earlier and compared to just 4% a week ago, according to futures markets. July odds were at about 60%.

Among active pre-market movers, shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (NYSE:HPE) soared almost 11% on news it would spin off its enterprise services unit, which will merge with Computer Sciences.

Computer Sciences Corporation (NYSE:CSC) shares also bounced on the merger announcement, adding 28% ahead of the opening bell.
On the downside, luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co (NYSE:TIF) lost almost 3% after reporting disappointing quarterly earnings Wednesday morning.
Companies slated to release quarterly earnings ahead of Wednesday’s opening bell include Eaton Vance Corporation (NYSE:EV), while Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) and Williams-Sonoma Inc (NYSE:WSM) will post numbers after Wall Street closes.
Elsewhere, European stock markets extended gains Wednesday, boosted by a new debt deal for Greece and rising oil prices.

Euro zone finance ministers agreed that Greece would receive €10.3 billion ($11.5 billion) in bailout funds in time to avoid financial peril this summer as debt payments come due.
Earlier, Asian equities ended mostly higher, tracking strong overnight gains on U.S. stock markets, as upbeat U.S. home sales supported the view that the economy may be strong enough for the Fed to raise interest rates in coming months.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar held at its highest level in nearly two months against a basket of major currencies early Wednesday on hints the Fed is getting closer to raising interest rates.

Gold futures slid to a seven-week low, trading near $1,220.00, as investors continued to factor in an increased chance of a near-term U.S. interest rate rise.
The precious metal is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, as a rise would lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion.


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