Monday August 8th


US futures rise as markets shrug off weak China data

U.S. stock index futures looked set to open higher on Monday, tracking Asian and European markets, after the better-than-expected U.S. non-farm jobs number on Friday. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes posted their strongest closes ever on Friday after the much-watched official employment report showed 255,000 new jobs were created in July. This was well above the expected 180,000. After the non-farm payrolls, Asian and European markets shrugged off weak Chinese trade data overnight. Chinese exports and imports fell more-than-expected in U.S. dollar-denominated terms. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 closed up 396.12 points, or 2.44 percent, at 16,650.57, while the Topix added 25.63 points, or 2 percent, to 1,305.53. Japanese shares also received some boost from a relatively weaker yen. In Australia, the ASX 200 closed up 40.39 points, or 0.73 percent, at 5,537.80, with the heavily-weighted financials sub-index advancing 1.09 percent. Major banks in the country gained nearly 1 percent or more, with National Australia Bank adding 1.43 percent. In South Korea, the Kospi closed up 13.18 points, or 0.65 percent, at 2,031.12. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 1.39 percent in late-afternoon trade. Chinese mainland markets climbed, with the Shanghai composite closing up 28.02 points, or 0.94 percent, at 3,004.71, while the Shenzhen composite added 20.65 points, or 1.06 percent, to 1,962.26. No major economic data is due from the U.S. on Monday. The heavy part of earnings season is behind us, but Dean Foods, Sotheby's and News Corp posted quarterly results on Monday. The U.S. dollar traded higher against a basket of currencies at around 96.3 on Monday, having traded below 96.0 before the jobs report on Friday. Delta shares will be worth watching on Monday as a system-wide computer failure delayed thousands of airline passengers around the world. Meanwhile, Walmart is set to buy online retailer, according to media reports citing sources familiar with the transaction, and Amazon Japan has been raided on suspicion of antitrust practices, according to local media reports. Oil extended gains on Monday on a report of renewed calls by some OPEC members to restrain output, even as analysts warned bearish fundamentals that brought prices to four-month lows last week still lurked. International benchmark Brent futures were trading at $45.07 per barrel at 8:09 a.m. ET (1209 GMT), up 80 cents, or 1.8 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $42.63 per barrel, up 83 cents, or 2 percent. Gold slipped to a one-week low on Monday, adding to a near 2 percent loss sustained in the previous session on renewed expectations of a U.S. interest rate hike after stronger-than-expected payrolls data. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,334 an ounce, after dipping to $1,329.58, the lowest since July 27. U.S. gold for December delivery inched 0.3 percent lower to $1,339.70 an ounce.