Friday November 27th


Wall Street looks to big week ahead

U.S. stock index futures indicated a mixed open on Friday as traders digest a 5 percent slump in Chinese stocks and look towards a big week ahead. In Asia, Chinese stocks tanked after authorities launched probes for alleged violations of trading rules. The Shanghai Composite closed 5.48 percent lower, while the Shenzhen Composite finished 6.1 percent lower. Japan's Nikkei finished 0.30 percent lower. U.S. markets were closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday, and will shut earlier, at 1:00 p.m. ET, today. In spite of the gloomy news out of China, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to grant China's yuan reserve currency status on Monday. The yuan would be included in the fund's Special Drawing Rights basket which, while largely symbolic, would elevate the currency and China's influence in the global economy. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is set to speak twice next week, and is expected to hammer home the U.S. central bank's message that it wants to raise rates in mid-December, barring any unexpected economic blowup. On the data front, next Friday's U.S. November jobs report is the highlight of the week because it is the last big piece of data for the Fed to mull before its rate hike meeting December 15 and 16. The European Central Bank will meet in Frankfurt next Thursday, where it is expected to expand its easing program. Oil will also be on the agenda, with the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) set to meet in Vienna next Friday. Crude oil futures fell on Friday as disappointing Chinese data and worries over a supply glut overshadowed geopolitical concerns. The U.S. dollar, which stood close to nine-month highs versus a basket of other currencies, also weighed on oil. Strength in the greenback makes oil more expensive for holders of other currencies. Brent crude fell by 21 cents to $45.25 per barrel by 7:36 a.m. EDT (1236 GMT), after settling down 71 cents at $45.46 in the previous session. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures, the U.S. crude benchmark, fell by 78 cents to $42.26 per barrel. Gold dipped to its lowest level in nearly six years on Friday and was heading for a sixth straight weekly decline under pressure from a firm dollar and prospects of a U.S. interest rate hike next month. Spot gold fell 0.7 percent to $1,063.75 an ounce, its lowest since February 2010, and was down 0.4 percent at $1,066.26. The metal was down 1 percent for the week. U.S. gold futures fell 0.52 percent to $1,064.40 an ounce and were also headed for a sixth consecutive weekly decline.