Graphique Historique de l'Action
3 Mois : De Fév 2019 à Mai 2019
By Will Horner
U.S. stocks were set to make cautious gains Thursday, despite downbeat sessions elsewhere, as investors awaited fresh economic data and the latest round of U.S.-China trade talks.
Futures put the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both up 0.2% and Nasdaq-100 futures 0.3% higher. Energy services company TechnipFMC was down 8.1% in premarket trade after the company said Wednesday it had swung to a loss.
Trade-exposed stocks looked set be among the strongest performers, with tech company Nvidia up 1.5% and semiconductor maker Skyworks Solutions up 3.4% premarket.
Bunge, Kraft Heinz, Caesars Entertainment and Baidu will also be in focus with the companies due to report earnings.
In Europe, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.2% in midday trade, with declines led by the index's banking sector, down 1.5%. Shares in Swedbank continued a second day of steep losses with its shares down nearly 9% after a report Wednesday of alleged money laundering.
The U.K.'s FTSE 100 notched the region's sharpest decline, falling 0.7%, with energy provider Centrica slumping nearly 12% after it reported earnings. Danish-listed shares in Moeller-Maersk fell 8.4% after the company recorded a sharp fall in profits.
Eurozone manufacturing entered its first downturn since mid-2013, further darkening the regional picture, according to data released Thursday.
Indexes in Asia were positive for most of the day, though gains in Chinese markets reversed in the closing minutes, leading the Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen indexes to close down 0.3%. Japan's Nikkei was up 0.6% and Australia's ASX 200 closed up 0.7%.
Hopes for a positive outcome from the current U.S.-China trade negotiations remained high after President Trump signaled he would be flexible on the March 1 deadline for an agreement. Midlevel U.S. and Chinese negotiators having been holding meetings this week. Cabinet-level officials are set to join the discussions later Thursday.
"There is optimism about U.S.-China trade that there is a desire to get a deal done, even something that is not a firm deal but just pushes it down the road and avoid the next round of tariffs," Kit Juckes, a strategist at Société Générale, said. "I think the market would be very surprised if the tariffs increase weren't pushed back."
Minutes from the Federal Reserve's January meeting released Wednesday showed unanimous agreement among officials to hold off on future interest-rate rises, with some members saying the economic outlook had become more uncertain since their previous meeting. They also indicated a readiness to stop reducing the central bank's $4 trillion asset portfolio in 2019.
"The minutes put a bit of flesh on what we already knew: that the bias toward raising interest rates has disappeared," said Peter Dixon, economist at Commerzbank. "I get the sense that the Fed is a lot more cautious about the economy than it previously was and perhaps more than is warranted."
Investors will be eyeing a range of data due Thursday for clues about the state of U.S. economic growth. Figures are due on unemployment claims, homes sales, and surveys on the manufacturing and service sectors.
The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of 16 currencies, was up slightly. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasurys rose to 2.668% from 2.652% Wednesday. Yields and prices move in opposite directions
In commodities, gold was sharply lower, after three consecutive sessions of gains. Gold futures were down 0.8%. Oil was higher ahead of the Energy Information Administration's report of the latest U.S. inventory data with Brent crude, the global benchmark, 1% higher at $67.08 a barrel.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 21, 2019 08:04 ET (13:04 GMT)
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