Thursday March 1st


Dow futures fall more than 100 points as Street begins March on a sour note

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Thursday, the first day of the month, adding to losses seen in the previous session. Around 7:50 a.m. ET, Dow futures were off 116 points, indicating a drop of 105 points at the open. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 futures also pointed to a negative open. The moves came after Wall Street finished deep in the red during the previous trading session. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average sank 380 points as markets wrapped up the volatile month of February for major averages. Concerns over higher interest rates have lingered. Earlier this week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated that the central bank could raise interest rates three or more times during 2018 to prevent the U.S. economy from overheating, causing volatility in the bond and equity markets. On the data front Thursday, jobless claims, personal income and outlays are set to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, followed by the manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) data at 9:45 a.m. ET; while the manufacturing ISM report on business and construction spending are due out at 10 a.m. ET. Investors will also be watching for any more corporates to change their stance on gun control, after a number of companies cut their partnership ties with the NRA. The Senate Banking committee will hear from Fed Chair Jerome Powell on the Semi-Annual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress. Meantime, New York Fed President William Dudley is expected to talk about trade and globalization at an event in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Overseas, stocks in both Europe and Asia slipped into the red during their respective sessions. The Nikkei 225 closed at its lowest levels since mid-February. The index declined 1.56 percent, or 343.77 points, on the first day of March. Greater China markets shrugged off broader market sentiment to edge higher, outperforming markets elsewhere in the region. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index reversed early losses to edge up 0.22 percent by 3:03 p.m. HK/SIN. Mainland markets closed in positive territory after two straight days of losses on the benchmark Shanghai composite. Gains on Thursday also came on the back of expectation-topping private manufacturing activity data. The Shanghai composite tacked on 0.44 percent to close at 3,273.76 and the Shenzhen composite jumped 1.23 percent. Oil fell for a third day on Thursday, trading further below $65 a barrel as rising U.S. inventories, record output and a stronger dollar outweighed high OPEC compliance with its supply-cutting deal. A U.S. government report on Wednesday showed a larger-than-expected increase in U.S. crude inventories and a rise in gasoline stocks. U.S. crude output reached a record in November, although it slipped in the last month of 2017. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 59 cents at $64.14 a barrel at 7:50 a.m. ET (1250 GMT). U.S. crude was down 50 cents at $61.14. Gold fell half a percent on Monday, extending losses for a third day after comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell this week shored up expectations for further increases to U.S. interest rates and held the dollar near a five-week peak. Spot gold was down 0.9 percent at $1,306.21 an ounce, while U.S. goldfutures for April delivery were $11.10 lower at $1,307.10. Spot prices earlier hit a three-week low of $1,310.01.