Wednesday June 24th


U.S. stock markets were set to open lower on Wednesday, with stocks futures falling in line with European shares after a Greek official told reporters that the country's international lenders had rejected its latest proposals on talks to secure aid and avoid a default. A Greek government official said that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had told associates that Greece's proposed measures had not been accepted by creditors, Reuters reported. In economic news, the final read on first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data showed a decline of 0.2 percent, in-line with expectations and above a previous estimate of a 0.7 percent contraction. Futures held lower, with the Dow futures off about 70 points. The 10-year Treasury yield edged lower to 2.37 percent, while the 2-year yield held steady at 0.70 percent. The U.S. dollar trimmed losses slightly, trading about a third of a percent lower. The data is in focus amid signs of improvement in the economy that could pave the way for the U.S. Federal Reserve to deliver its first rate rise in nine years – possibly at its September meeting. "The U.S. markets, especially Nasdaq, have recorded another record high last night on the back of (Greece) optimism and the upbeat data released so far has certainly played a beat," Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, said in a note. "With the exception of durable goods orders, the unemployment number, wage growth, and most recently housing market, are all playing a very sweet violin for the U.S. economy," he said. Data on Tuesday showed U.S. durable goods orders fell 1.8 percent and new home sales rose to a seven-year high in May. Comments from Fed Governor Jerome Powell on Tuesday suggested the U.S. economy could be ready for a tightening in monetary policy in both September and December. U.S. equity futures were broadly lower in London trade, with Dow Jones industrial average futures down 47 points. Equity markets closed slightly higher on Tuesday as investors remained optimistic on the Greece debt talks and eyed continued signs of moderate economic growth. European Union finance ministers meet on Wednesday to discuss whether or not to put a new cash-for-reforms plan on Greece to euro zone state leaders. If it goes ahead, Greece's parliament could vote on the deal this weekend. Greece must repay the International Monetary Fund 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) by the end of June or be declared in default – an event that could pave the way for the country's exit from the euro zone and further turmoil in markets. European shares fell sharply after the reports that Greece's latest proposals had been rejected. In contrast, Japan's Nikkei 225 index extended recent gains to climb to an 18-year peak. Earnings are expected from Monsanto, Lennar, Bed Bath & Beyond, HB Fuller, Apogee, Steelcase, Worthington Industries and Herman Miller.Kroger, SuperValu and other supermarket stocks could move today, after Dutch supermarket operator Ahold announced a deal to buy Belgium's Delhaize. Ahold operates the Stop&Shop and Giant chains in the United States, while Delhaize is the parent of Food Lion. Asian shares advanced amid rangebound trade on Wednesday, with Japan's Nikkei 225 index clinching an 18-year high. Nikkei gains 0.3%. The Tokyo bourse edged up to its highest level since December 1996, supported by signs of a recovery in the world's third-largest economy, earnings optimism and expectations that Greece will avoid a debt default. Oil held above $64 a barrel on Wednesday before a U.S. government report expected to show domestic crude inventories fell for an eighth week, a sign that a supply glut is easing. The industry group American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday reported a drop in U.S. crude stocks, ahead of Wednesday's official data. Doubts over the likelihood of a deal next week on Iran's nuclear work also supported prices. Brent crude fell 13 cents to $64.32 a barrel by 8:46 a.m. EDT (1246 GMT). U.S. crude lost 14 cents to $60.87. Both contracts made gains on Tuesday. Gold slid to a one-week low on Wednesday, down for a fourth consecutive session as the dollar strengthened and global stock markets continued to rally on expectations of a Greek debt deal. Spot gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,176 an ounce by 0715 GMT, after losing 0.6 percent on Tuesday. It hit a session low of $1,174.7, the weakest since June 17.