Thursday August 18th


Stock futures tick higher as Wall Street tries to resume rally

U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher Thursday as investors tried to regain their footing a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a five-day winning streak and a recent market rally appeared to fade. Futures contracts tied to the Dow were 23 points higher, or 0.07%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.15%, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.18%. Investors continued to monitor retail earnings for insight into the health of the consumer, which continued Thursday with reports from Kohl’s, Bath & Body Works and BJ’s Wholesale. Kohl’s shares slid in the premarket after the company cut its guidance. On Wednesday, the Dow fell roughly 172 points, or 0.5%. The S&P 500 declined 0.7% for its first negative session in four. The Nasdaq Composite was the relative underperformer, dipping 1.25%. The tech-heavy index and S&P 500 are now both on track to snap a four-week winning streak. Those moves came as traders parsed through the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July meeting. The central bank remains committed to fighting inflation, but indicated it could adjust its pace of tightening based on market conditions. Investors have been hoping that the Fed might slow the pace of its rate hikes after July’s consumer price index reading showed inflation cooling slightly. But not everyone is convinced. “We’re in the camp that the Fed is not going to pivot,” Scott Wren, senior global market strategist for Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “The minutes didn’t make us change our mind at all. We think a 75 basis point hike is likely in September, and we’ll see more hikes at the end of the year ... we think the market is a little lofty right here,” he added. Asia-Pacific markets are trading lower across the board on Thursday after the latest Wall Street rally cooled overnight and July minutes from the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee pointed to “little evidence inflation pressures were subsiding” at the time of the meeting. Japan’s Nikkei 225 dipped nearly 1% to 28,942.14 while the Topix index dropped 0.82% to 1,990.5. In South Korea, the Kospi was down 0.33% and closed at 2,508.05. Mainland China markets also took a tumble. The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.46% to 3,277.54 and the Shenzhen Component lowered 0.62% to 12,517.32 at the end of the trading. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 0.8%. Oil prices rose on Thursday as robust U.S. fuel consumption data and expected falls in Russian supply later in the year offset concerns that a possible recession in developed economies could undercut demand. Brent crude futures climbed $1.27, or 1.4%, to $94.92 a barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 93 cents, or 1.1%, to $89.04 a barrel. Gold edged up on Thursday as bond yields slipped, though a stronger dollar and expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates kept prices pinned near two-week lows. Spot gold was up 0.53% at $1,770.31 per ounce, after a three-day losing run that pulled it down to $1,759.17 on Wednesday, lowest since Aug. 3. U.S. gold futures 0.42% to $1,784.41 per ounce.