Thursday April 7th

7-04-2016

Futures lower; Street eyes oil, central banks

U.S. stock index futures indicated a lower open on Thursday morning, following declines in European markets. "I think this is a global growth play and global growth scare that continues to show economies in the rest of the world struggling and investors are wondering if central banks are starting to run out of bullets," said Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout. "That's the trade. We don't think that's the case." He also attributed some of the morning's decline to a pullback after several weeks of gains. Major European stock indexes were slightly lower, with the STOXX Europe 600 off a third of a percent and the STOXX Europe 600 Banks index underperforming, trading about 1.4 percent lower. Treasury yields were lower as the German 10-year bund yield fell. The yen strengthened further against the U.S dollar, trading near 108.4 yen as of 8:56 a.m., ET, after hitting its strongest against the greenback since October 2014. Oil turned lower, with Brent crude off 30 cents near $39.50 while WTI was off 25 cents around $37.50 a barrel as of 8:53 a.m. ET. U.S. crude oil futures settled higher for a second-straight day on Wednesday, rising 5.2 percent for its biggest daily gain since March 16. U.S. stocks closed near session highs Wednesday, led by gains in energy and health care stocks. In a light day of economic reports, weekly jobless claims came in at 267,000. Thursday will also see an historic gathering, with current Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen appearing alongside former chairmen Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker at 5:30 p.m. ET in New York. The program is entitled "When the Fed speaks, the world listens." There'll also be more comment from Fed members later in the evening when Kansas City Fed President Esther George speaks at 8:15 p.m. ET. Late Wednesday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said in a Reuters report the United States needs a long-term economic plan including tax and education reform to revive growth, not rely on more monetary or fiscal stimulus for a short-term boost. On Wednesday,the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes from the March meeting suggested a divided central bank, with many policymakers showing caution towards an interest rate hike in April, while others indicated that it was justified. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed up 0.22 percent, while the Shanghai Composite in China closed 1.35 percent lower. In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 Index was down 0.27 percent. Gold rose more than one percent on Thursday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting showed caution over future U.S. interest rates increases. Spot gold benefited from a 17-month low in the dollar versus the Japanese yen. Prices touched a one-week high of $1,239.30 an ounce and were up 1.25 percent at $1,237.15.