Monday August 20th


US stock futures climb as investor focus turns to China-US trade talks

U.S. stock index futures pushed higher ahead of Monday's open, adding to the gains from international markets. Around 6:40 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 60 points, indicating a positive open of 66.68 points, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointing to an upbeat start to the day. Many markets in Europe and Asia posted solid gains, helping support U.S. futures, following positive trade developments between the U.S. and China. A strong session from Wall Street on Friday also gave market sentiment a boost. On Thursday, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow confirmed to CNBC earlier reports that China and the U.S. would hold a fresh round of trade discussions later this month. A day later, markets ticked higher following news reported by The Wall Street Journal that a nine-member delegation from Beijing would hold meetings with officials from the States later this week. The report added that this could lead to a potential meeting between the presidents of the two countries in November. While the latest news has buoyed markets, investors remain cautious. The Economic Symposium, set to take place at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, from Thursday until Saturday, meantime will focus on changing market structure and the implications for monetary policy going forward. It will also feature a speech from Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Asia markets mostly rose on Monday, following a higher finish on Wall Street Friday after a report said China and U.S. negotiators are working on a plan to end a trade dispute that would result in meetings between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in November. Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 71.38 points, or 0.32 percent, to 22,199 while the Topix declined 5.38 points, or 0.32 percent, to close at 1,692.15. In South Korea, the Kospi closed near flat at 2,247.88. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1.25 percent as of 3:36 p.m. Chinese mainland markets closed in positive territory, as the Shanghai composite gained 1.11 percent to 2,698.47 while the Shenzhen composite ended the trading day 0.602 percent up at 1,451.07. Brent oil stabilized near $72 per barrel on Monday after several weeks of decline, weighed down by concerns over slowing global economic growth but supported by an expected fall in supply from Iran due to U.S. sanctions. Brent crude futures, a benchmark for international oil prices, were at $72.11 per barrel at 0803 GMT, up 28 cents. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 3 cents at $65.94 per barrel. Gold prices rose on Monday after touching a 19-month low last week as a strengthening currency in China made the metal cheaper for buyers in the world's biggest gold consumer. Gold has tumbled 13 percent from an April high as the dollar powered higher against the yuan and other currencies, raising the cost of dollar-priced bullion outside the United States. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,186.77 an ounce after Thursday's dip to $1,159.96, the lowest since January 2017. U.S. gold futures were up 0.8 percent at $1,193.10 an ounce.