Wednesday February 1st

1-02-2017

Futures point to higher open on Wall Street; Fed announcement, data eyed

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday as traders focused on a batch of economic data and eyed the latest announcement from the Federal Reserve. Private companies kicked off the new year with a hiring spree, according to the latest report from ADP and Moody's Analytics. Amid an explosive month surrounding President Donald Trump's inauguration and the flurry of activity that followed, firms added 246,000 new workers to their payrolls, the report showed. Futures extended gains after the ADP release, with Dow futures trading 65 points higher, while S&P and Nasdaq futures rose 7 points and 33 points, respectively. Other data scheduled for release include the Markit manufacturing PMI for January, the ISM Manufacturing index, and construction spending. Vehicle sales are also due throughout the trading day. The Federal Open Market Committee and the Board of Governors are scheduled to issue a statement on monetary policy at 2 p.m ET although there will be no press conference. Market expectations for a rate hike on Wednesday were just 4 percent, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool. On the earnings front, Anthem and Johnson Controls are among the major companies that reported before the bell. Facebook, MetLife, Tractor Supply and IAC/InterActive are also amid many other company earnings reports due to be released after the market close. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx-600 index was around 1.1 percent higher on Wednesday. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite in China closed 0.31 percent higher, while the Nikkei in Japan closed 0.56 percent higher. In oil markets, prices stabilized after Russia joined OPEC in cutting production although increased drilling activity in the U.S. capped gains. Brent crude traded at around $56.04 a barrel on Wednesday, up 0.8 percent, while U.S. crude was around $53.16 a barrel, up 0.6 percent. Gold slipped off a more than one-week high on Wednesday as the dollar firmed ahead of an interest rate decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve which is expected to provide clues on monetary policy this year. Spot gold was slightly lower at $1,210.61 an ounce by 1120 GMT, after hitting $1,215.31 in the previous session. U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,212.30. Gold gained more than 5 percent in January - its best month since June 2016 - as the dollar suffered its worst start to the year in three decades, hurt by Trump's comment that every "other country lives on devaluation."