Wednesday October 4th


Futures point to a weak open on Wall Street, as data, Yellen remarks set to dominate discussion

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a relatively flat open on Wednesday, as investors look to key data and a speech by a leading member of the U.S. central bank. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 21 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 2.5 points and 11.25 points, respectively. In previous days, Wall Street has notched up a number of positive trading sessions, with the Dow Jones industrial average rising to 22,641.67 points, setting both intraday and closing records on Tuesday. With the 30-stock index having posted a solid five-day winning streak, investors are likely to be pausing for breath on Wednesday, as they await potential market-moving news. News out of the U.S. central bank is set to dominate sentiment on Wednesday, as a leading Fed member is set to speak at a conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is expected to deliver opening remarks at the Community Banking in the 21st Century Research and Policy Conference; where investors will be watching closely for any indications as to how the U.S. economy is faring at present. On the data front, the U.S.'s services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) is due out at 9:45 a.m. ET, followed by the ISM's non-manufacturing report on business, set to come out at 10 a.m. ET. The ADP national employment report showed private sector jobs grew by 135,000 last month, a sharp decline from 228,000 in August. In earnings, PepsiCo reported mixed quarterly results. It's full-year earnings-per-share forecast, however, topped expectations, sending the stock higher. Elsewhere in stock news, Amazon was ordered to pay nearly $300 million after the European Commission said the online retailer had received illegal tax benefits in Luxembourg. In commodities news, oil prices fell into the red during early trade, as investors were cautious over whether the recent rally seen in crude prices would last. At 8:18 a.m. ET, U.S. crude traded around $50.32 per barrel, while Brent hovered around $55.85. Overseas, European stocks were trading mostly lower, while markets in Asia closed on a mixed to mostly higher note. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gave up morning gains of more than 0.2 percent to close nearly flat at 20,626.66. Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.66 percent at 28,358.54 in afternoon trade. Markets in China and South Korea remain closed for public holidays. Gold rose on Wednesday after marking a seven-week low the previous session, as the dollar dipped on talk that a dovish Federal Reserve chair would be appointed next year. Having touched its lowest since mid-August on Tuesday, spot gold rose 0.62 percent to $1,279.48 an ounce by 8:18 ET. The precious metal is down some 6 percent from a one-year high of $1,357.54 hit in early September.vU.S. gold futures for December delivery rose 0.57 percent to $1,291.90.