Friday March 23rd


Dow futures erase large overnight deficit, now point to higher open

U.S. stock index futures cut their sharp overnight losses on Friday despite China responding with retaliatory measures to President Donald Trump's intensifying war on Beijing's trade practices. At around 8:05 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 28 points, indicating a gain of 28.11 points at the open. Dow futures briefly fell more than 200 points earlier on Friday. S&P 500 futures also indicated a higher open while Nasdaq 100 futures traded well of their lows. Trump pressed ahead with long-promised anti-China charges on Thursday. The U.S. president signed an executive memorandum that will impose tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese imports. In response, China's commerce ministry proposed a list of 128 U.S. products as potential retaliation targets, according to a statement on its website posted Friday morning. Beijing's ministry said it will take measures against the 128 U.S. goods in two stages if it cannot reach an agreement with Washington, adding that it could also take legal action under World Trade Organization rules. The moves in premarket trade follow a sell-off on Wall Street in the previous session. On Thursday, U.S. stocks fell sharply amid intensifying worries of a tit-for-tat trade war. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped more than 700 points, with Caterpillar, 3M and Boeing the biggest decliners. The 30-stock index also briefly entered correction territory for the first time since last month, falling 10 percent from its 52-week high at one stage late in the session. Asia stock markets took a dive on the news, with European equities then tracking overnight losses. The pan-European Stoxx-600 index was around 1.1 percent lower on Friday morning. In Asia, the Shangahi Composite in China closed down 3.3 percent, while the Nikkei in Japan closed off by 4.5 percent. Meanwhile, Seoul's benchmark Kospi index lost 3.18 percent to close at 2,416.76, as shares fell broadly. Greater China markets plunged in early trade, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index sinking 3.16 percent by 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN. Oil prices rose by around 1 percent on Friday, pushed up by Saudi plans for OPEC and Russian-led production curbs introduced in 2017 to be extended into 2019 to further tighten the market. The rise in oil prices defied global stock markets, which slumped on the back of worries about a trade stand-off between the United States and China. Brent crude futures were at $69.51 per barrel, up 60 cents, or 0.9 percent. For the week, Brent was set for a gain of about 5 percent, its strongest showing since July last year, while WTI was up about 4.2 percent. West texas intermediate were at $64.95 a barrel at 0753 GMT, up 65 cents, or 1 percent, from their previous settlement. Gold prices surged to a one-month high on Friday as the threat of a global trade war sent investors scrambling for safe assets. Spot gold was up 1.38 percent at $1,346.90 an ounce by 8:28 a.m. EST, having hit its highest since Feb. 20 at $1,343.06. U.S. gold futures for April delivery were 1.51 percent higher at $1,347.40 an ounce.