Tuesday August 23rd


US futures rise; Best Buy surges after earnings

U.S. stock index futures rose on Tuesday, as investors digested a further set of earnings on Wall Street, and looked ahead to a key speech by the Federal Reserve's Chair. The U.S. central bank is a big talking point for investors this week, as Fed Chair Janet Yellen is set to give a speech on August 26 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's annual Economic Policy Symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Ahead of this, it is possible markets could show an element of caution, according to OANDA's senior market analyst, Craig Erlam, as traders await to see if the Fed provides any indications as to when it may raise interest rates. "Investors are still not buying a 2016 rate hike, even following Stanley Fischer's comments over the weekend regarding the economy —markets now marginally pricing in February — so the probability that Yellen says something that goes against what's priced in seems quite high," said Erlam in a note. "The only question is whether she'll strongly hint at a hike this year or indicate that holding off to early next year may be warranted, at which point markets would push the hike right back once again," he added. On the earnings front, Best Buy shares surged after reporting quarterly results. Intuit, Trina Solar and Regis are also expected to release their latest earnings. Meanwhile the price of oil is keeping investors on their toes as crude futures continue to fall. WTI crude and Brent last stood around $47.00 per barrel and $48.75 respectively, with prices being dampened after Goldman Sachs warned that the price rally in August had been overdone.On the data front, investors will be on the lookout for the New Home Sales data and Richmond Fed survey, both due out at 10.00 a.m. ET. Markit's Flash US Manufacturing PMI is also expected to be released in the morning. European stocks traded higher in morning trade while Asia-Pacific indexes showed a mixed picture in trade overnight. The Nikkei 225 closed down by 100.83 points, or 0.61 percent, at 16,497.36, while the Topix index fell 6.12 points, or 0.47 percent, to 1,297.56. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi closed up 7.77 points, or 0.38 percent, at 2,049.93. Australian shares also advanced, with the benchmark ASX 200 closing up 38.74 points, or 0.7 percent, at 5,553.80, as the heavily-weighted financials sector added 0.88 percent. New Zealand's NZX 50 closed nearly flat at 7,467.33. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was down 0.17 percent in late-afternoon trading. Chinese mainland markets closed modestly higher, with the Shanghai composite up 5.82 points, or 0.19 percent, at 3,090.63, while the Shenzhen composite added 5.39 points, or 0.26 percent, to 2,024.05. Major indexes in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines also traded lower in the afternoon session. In the previous session, U.S. stocks closed mostly lower. Gold edged higher on Tuesday as markets shifted focus from hawkish comments by a Federal Reserve official at the weekend to a meeting of global central bankers this week, awaiting further guidance on U.S. interest rates. Spot gold rose 0.39 percent to $1,343.51 an ounce, having hit a two-week low of $1,331.35 in the previous session. U.S. gold was up 0.35 percent at $1,348.10 an ounce.