Wednesday March 7th


Dow futures drop more than 300 points after Cohn resigns

U.S. stock index futures posted sharp falls ahead of Wednesday's open, as political developments within the U.S. administration unnerved markets worldwide. Around 7 a.m. ET, Dow futures slumped 308 points, indicating a drop of 330.12 points at the open. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 futures also pointed to deep losses at the open for their respective markets. The moves in premarket trade come after the White House's chief economic advisor Gary Cohn announced his resignation from President Donald Trump's administration Tuesday. Cohn, the free trade advocate and former president at Goldman Sachs, chose to step down from his position after Trump announced that he would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Cohn's departure date is expected to come in the following weeks. Markets remain on edge following the announcement as Cohn is seen as someone who supports more business-friendly policies, and therefore is seen as well-liked by Wall Street. Consequently, markets in Europe and Asia traded in negative territory on Wednesday. On Wednesday a whole slew of data and earnings are due. ADP employment is due out at 8:15 a.m. ET, followed by international trade and productivity & costs data at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Federal Reserve's latest Beige Book is set to be published at 2 p.m. ET, while consumer credit is due out at 3 p.m. ET. Mortgage Applications will come out at 7 a.m. ET. Elsewhere, investors will be keeping an eye on international news, after the South Korean presidential National Security Office announced that North Korea was willing to hold denuclearization talks with the U.S., and would suspend nuclear tests while those talks took place. Asian markets closed lower in choppy Wednesday trade following news that a top Trump economic advisor had resigned. The Nikkei 225 slipped 0.77 percent, or 165.04 points, to close at 21,252.72. The index had pared losses of around 1 percent earlier in the day to hover around the flat line, before sliding once again. South Korea's Kospi shed 0.4 percent to close at 2,401.82 after notching gains earlier in the day. The Hang Seng Index lost 1.15 percent by 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN, but held above the 30,000 mark. Mainland markets closed mixed: The Shanghai composite edged down 0.55 percent to end at 3,271.46 and the Shenzhen composite traded lower by 0.78 percent. Oil prices fell on Wednesday, pulled down by weaker stock markets after a key advocate for free trade in the U.S. government resigned, stoking concerns Washington will go ahead with import tariffs and risk a trade war. Soaring U.S. crude oil production and rising inventories also dragged on crude prices, traders said. Brent crude were down 51 cents, or 0.8 percent, from their previous close at $65.28 per barrel at 0414 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $62.13 a barrel, down 47 cents, or 0.75 percent. Gold prices inched up on Wednesday to their highest in a week as the dollar weakened and equities dropped after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would push ahead with punitive tariffs on imports, rekindling fears of a potential trade war. Spot gold rose 0.1 percent to $1,335.02 per ounce by 0314 GMT, having hit $1,340.42 an ounce earlier in the session, its highest since Feb. 26. U.S. gold futures for April delivery rose 0.1 percent to $1,336.30 per ounce.