Monday December 9th


Stocks set for for first loss in four sessions

U.S. stock index futures were slightly lower on Monday as investors took a pause after three consecutive days of increases. Around 7:20 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a loss of 27 points at the open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 also indicated small losses to start off the session. Stocks rose to near-record highs late last week, boosted a U.S. jobs report that easily topped analyst expectations. The world’s largest economy added 266,000 jobs in November, according to data released by the Labor Department. The Dow rallied more than 300 points on Friday while the S&P 500 came back to post a slight weekly gain. Friday’s strong session came after the market got off to a slow start last week amid worries over U.S.-China trade relations.  “We were impressed by the counterattack by the bulls,” JC O’Hara, chief market technician at MKM Partners, said in a note. “Last week, while selling pressure did pick up, it was not intense enough for us to reverse our positive outlook on equities. Our shorter-term indicators did not fully reset, but that shows just how aggressive the bulls are.” Heading into Monday’s session, investor focus turned back to the prospect of a limited trade agreement between the U.S. and China, with less than a week to go before Washington is set to impose even more tariffs on Chinese goods. China Assistant Commerce Minister Ren Hongbin said Monday the country hopes to make a deal with the U.S. “as soon as possible.” Ren’s comment came after data showed Chinese exports fell for a fourth straight month in November, potentially increasing pressure on China to make a deal. Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, told CNBC on Friday that both sides were “close” to a deal, but suggested Trump was prepared to “walk away” if certain conditions were not met. Kudlow also confirmed that a Dec. 15 deadline remained in place to impose tariffs on another $156 billion on Chinese goods. The U.S. and China have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of one another’s goods since the start of 2018, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment. Asia stocks edged higher on Monday as China’s exports declined in November for the fourth consecutive month, according to the country’s customs data. Mainland Chinese stocks closed little changed, with the Shanghai composite fractionally higher at around 2,914.48, the Shenzhen component at 9,876.27 while the Shenzhen composite was at about 1,640.51. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 0.14% higher, as of its final hour of trading. Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed 0.33% higher at 23,430.70 while the Topix index ended its trading day 0.51% higher at 1,722.07. South Korea’s Kospi also added 0.33% to close at 2,088.65. Oil prices fell on Monday after data showed Chinese exports declined for a fourth straight month, sending jitters through a market already concerned about damage being done to global demand by the trade war between Washington and Beijing. Brent futures were down 68 cents, or 1%, at $63.71 per barrel, after gaining about 3% last week on news that OPEC and its allies would deepen output cuts. West Texas Intermediate oil futures were down 64 cents, or 1% to $58.56 a barrel, having risen about 7% last week on the prospects for lower production from “OPEC+”, which is made up of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and associated producers including Russia. Gold rose on Monday as investors hedged against a possible escalation in the U.S.-China trade dispute ahead of a Dec. 15 deadline for fresh U.S. tariffs, while scarce palladium surged to a new high as it closed in on the $1,900 mark. Spot gold was up 0.3% to $1,463.46 per ounce. U.S. gold futures traded 0.2% higher at $1,467.90.