Thursday November 29th


US stock futures pull back after Dow notched strong triple-digit gain on Wednesday

U.S. stock index fell ahead of Thursday's open as investors took a breather following a massive rally in the previous session. At around 8:21 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slipped 19 points, indicating a decline of 38.43 points at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 also signaled declines at the open. Wall Street saw a stellar session on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up over 600 points following a speech by the chair of the Federal Reserve. On Wednesday, Jerome Powell said at an event in New York that he deems the Fed's benchmark interest rate to be close to a neutral level; which marks a step away from comments made in recent months. Back in October, Powell stated that the U.S. was a "long way" from hitting neutral, when it came to interest rates — which indicated to markets that more rate hikes were on the horizon. Consequently, Powell's comments on Wednesday caused stocks to rise both domestically and overseas. Sticking with the U.S. central bank, minutes from the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which took place earlier this month, are due out at 2 p.m. ET. Investors will be keeping a close eye on this release, to see if there are any further clues as to where monetary policy is heading. A number of Fed officials are also slated to speak in Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday. Elsewhere, investors continue to look ahead to a G-20 summit in Argentina, which takes place this Friday and Saturday. Trade relations between the U.S. and China will be a key topic up for discussion, especially since both nations' leaders will be attending the event. Asia markets traded mostly higher on Thursday ahead of a crucial meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, which many are hoping would help ease trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 85.58 points, or 0.39 percent, to 22,262.6 while the Topix index added 5.81 points, or 0.35 percent, to 1,659.47. South Korea's Kospi was higher by 5.88 points, or 0.28 percent, to 2,114.1. Greater China markets lost their early momentum and declined in the afternoon: The Shanghai composite gave up gains to close down 34.29 points, or 1.32 percent, at 2,567.44 while the Shenzhen composite was off by 29.94 points, or 2.2 percent, to 1,325.43. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.93 percent in late afternoon trade. Oil fell on Thursday, bringing losses for the month so far to 23 percent, marking its largest one-month fall since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008. A seemingly relentless rise in U.S. crude supply, together with Saudi Arabia's insistence that it will not cut output on its own to stabilise the market, wiped out overnight gains in oil futures. Brent crude futures fell 64 cents on the day to $58.12 a barrel, off an earlier session high of $59.51, while U.S. crude futures dropped below $50 for the first time in over a year. The January contract was last down 40 cents at $49.89. Gold prices firmed on Thursday as the dollar faltered following dovish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, calming investor concerns over the pace of rate hikes. Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,225.34 per ounce at 0700 GMT. Prices climbed about 0.6 percent on Wednesday, their biggest one-day percentage gain since Nov. 16. U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,225.1 per ounce.