Thursday June 21st


US stocks set for a mixed open, as trade fears, oil takes center stage

U.S. stock index futures were mixed of Thursday's open, as tensions surrounding a trade dispute between the U.S. and China continue to simmer. Around 8:21 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 58 points, indicating a negative open of 50.80 points. Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 futures, meanwhile, pointed to modest gains. The moves in premarket trade came after a wild couple of sessions on Wall Street. Markets across the globe have been on edge in recent days with the ongoing trade spat between the U.S. and China. Earlier this week, President Donald Trump requested the United States Trade Representative identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs, at a rate of 10 percent. He stated that these additional levies would be imposed on Beijing if it refused "to change its practices" and continued with the new tariffs it recently declared on the U.S. Beijing reacted by pledging to look at its own counter measures  against the U.S. Another topic that will be at the forefront during Thursday's session is oil. Oil-producing nations are currently gathering in Vienna, with members of oil cartel OPEC and non-OPEC members set to decide on the future of an agreement that currently limits production. Crude futures fell into the red Thursday, as analysts widely expect the producers to reach a deal that would raise production. Benchmark Brent crude fell $1.10 a barrel to a low of $73.64 before recovering slightly to $73.74, down $1.00 by 0820 GMT. U.S. light crudewas 65 cents lower at $65.06. Coming up Thursday, the Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing index slowed sharply to a reading of 19.9 in June from 34.4 in May. Economists were expecting a reading of 28. The index had jumped 11.2 points in May, but gave up all of the increase in June. Any reading above zero indicates improved conditions. The number of Americans losing their jobs fell for the fourth week in a row in mid-June, keeping the rate of layoffs near levels last seen in the early 1970s. Initial jobless claims declined by 3,000 to 218,000 in the seven days ended June 16, in line with the MarketWatch forecast. FHFA house price index data will be released at 9 a.m. ET. Overseas, the Bank of England kept interest rates unchanged amid falling inflation and lackluster growth data. Asian stocks closed mixed on Thursday, with China markets falling once more despite a mostly calmer backdrop after an elevation in trade tensions between the U.S. and China earlier in the week. The Nikkei 225 added 0.61 percent, or 137.61 points, to close at 22,693.04, with machinery stocks leading the gains. Other major markets in the region were down for the most part, with greater China recording sharper declines as the session progressed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 1.18 percent by 3:12 p.m. Mainland stocks declined after taking a breather on Wednesday. The Shanghai composite reversed the last session's gains to finish down 1.38 percent at 2,875.61 and the Shenzhen composite fell 2.13 percent for the day. Meanwhile, the Kospi, South Korea's benchmark share average, fell 1.1 percent to end at 2,337.83 amid broad declines, although heavyweight Samsung Electronics clung to a 0.11 percent gain by the end of the day. Gold prices posted a six-month low on Thursday, weighed down by a firm dollar and as the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair kept its outlook for higher interest rates. Spot gold fell 0.4 percent to $1,262.88 an ounce by 0637 GMT. It hit its lowest since Dec. 20 at $1,261.36 earlier, having lost about 3 percent over the last five sessions. U.S. gold futures for August delivery were down 0.8 percent at $1,264.50 per ounce.