Monday November 27th


US futures tread water as Senate gets set to vote on tax reform bill this week

U.S. stocks futures pointed to a flat open Monday, as investors looked ahead to a key vote on tax reform. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose just 3 points, while S&P 500 were unchanged and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 4.75 points. The Senate is expected to vote on a bill aimed at reforming the U.S. tax code on Thursday. Investors have been eagerly awaiting tax reform since last year's election, but doubts about whether the Republican-led Congress would be able to achieve this before year-end have lingered. President Donald Trump stated last week that his administration was going to "give the American people a huge tax cut for Christmas," according to the Associated Press. On the data front, new home sales figures are expected to be released at 10 a.m. ET, followed by the Dallas Fed's Texas manufacturing outlook survey at 10:30 a.m. ET. On the central bank front, two speeches by the U.S. Federal Reserve are set to take place Monday. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari will be delivering remarks at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota. New York Fed President William Dudley is expected to be at a moderated conversation called "U.S. Economy: 10 Years After the Crisis," organized by the University of California, Berkeley, in New York. Investors will be watching each discussion closely for any comments about the state of the U.S. economy. On Friday, equities in the U.S. rose by the close, as investors placed bets on a strong holiday shopping season. Consequently, investors are likely to be paying close attention to how certain retailers perform today as the Cyber Monday shopping spree commences. Looking to markets in other regions, trade in Europe posted minor gains in early trade Monday, while markets in Asia finished the session mostly lower. Japan's Nikkei 225 erased early gains to slip 0.24 percent by the end of the session, closing at 22,495.99. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi fell 1.44 percent to end at 2,507.81, with tech stocks dragging on the broader index. Greater China equities slid as markets continued to focus on the rise in bond yields on the mainland. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.92 percent to close at 3,322.83 and the Shenzhen Composite fell 1.56 percent to end at 1,892.82, with telcos and tech among the worst-performing sectors. The blue-chip CSI 300 index tumbled 1.3 percent by the end of the day. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.58 percent by 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN. Gold prices rose on Monday, helped by a weaker dollar, as investors looked ahead to congressional testimony by the nominee to chair the U.S. Federal Reserve and a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans on tax reform. Spot gold was up 0.74 percent at $1,297.33 an ounce, its highest since Nov. 17. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up 0.77 percent at $1,297.20. Oil prices slipped on Monday, with U.S. crude easing from two-year highs on prospects of higher output. Losses were limited though as expectations that OPEC and other key exporters will agree this week to extend production limits provided support. Benchmark Brent crude oil was down 34 cents at $63.52 a barrel by 7:57 a.m. ET (1257 GMT). U.S. light crude was 63 cents, or 1.1 percent, lower at $58.32.