Friday May 11th


US stocks set to post slight gains at the open amid economic data

U.S. stock index futures rose slightly ahead of Friday's open. Around 7 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 57 points, indicating a higher open of 44.47 points. Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 futures also indicated a higher start to the session for their respective markets. The moves in premarket trade came as markets overseas showed a mixed picture. In Asia, stocks finished the session on a positive note, boosted by gains seen on Wall Street on Thursday. The Nikkei 225 closed up 1.16 percent, or 261.30 points, at 22,758.48 in Tokyo and the broader Topix gained 0.98 percent. Gains were broad based as investors focused on robust earnings releases in Japan, with the technology and financial sectors advancing, although the Topix mining subindex was down 3.81 percent. In Seoul, the Kospi climbed 0.55 percent to 2,477.71. The Hang Seng Index rallied 1.01 percent by 3:06 p.m. HK/SIN, with the index on track for its fifth straight day of gains. Mainland markets, meanwhile, finished the day lower, with the Shanghai composite off by 0.36 percent at 3,162.85. The Shenzhen composite fell 1.03 percent to 1,825.14. European stocks, however, fluctuated and were under slight pressure during the morning session. In other markets, oil prices have been on the rise since the U.S. announced Tuesday that it would withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord. However, prices pulled back Friday from the multi-year highs seen in the previous trading session. On Friday, the import price index rose 0.3% in April because of the higher cost of oil. This was softer than the 0.5% gain expected by economists surveyed by Econoday. Excluding fuel, import prices rose 0.2% last month. The Dow Jones industrial average finished Thursday's session sharply higher, following weaker-than-expected U.S. inflation data. The consumer price index data rose 0.2 percent last month, below analyst expectations of a 0.3 percent increase. The news lifted market expectations, easing concerns about the pace of the U.S. central bank's tightening strategy. President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that he would be meeting North Korea's Kim Jong Un in Singapore next month, where they would both try to make it "a very special moment for world peace." No major earnings are scheduled to be published Friday. Oil prices steadied near 3½-year highs on Friday as renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran tightened the outlook for Middle East supply at a time when global crude production is only just keeping pace with rising demand. The United States is reintroducing sanctions against Iran, which pumps about 4 percent of the world's oil, after abandoning a deal reached in late 2015 that limited Tehran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for the removal of U.S. and European sanctions. The global oil market is finely balanced, with top exporter Saudi Arabia and No.1 producer Russia having led efforts to curb oil supply to prop up prices. Benchmark Brent crude oil was down 19 cents at $77.28 a barrel by 8:34 a.m. ET (1234 GMT). On Thursday Brent hit $78, its highest since November 2014. Gold was set for its first weekly gain in four weeks on Friday after soft U.S. inflation data suggested that the Federal Reserve could show caution on the pace of interest rate rises. The weaker than expected April consumer price data on Thursday helped to knock the dollar from 2018 highs and push down U.S. bond yields. Both fell further on Friday. That benefits gold because a weaker dollar makes bullion cheaper for users of other currencies, while lower bond yields make non-yielding gold more attractive to investors. Spot gold was up 0.31 percent at $1,325.12 an ounce by 8:50 a.m. ET, reaching a two-week high. It was up 0.7 percent for the week. U.S. gold futures for June delivery gained 0.23 percent to $1,325.40.