Wednesday August 24th


Stock futures are little changed following the S&P 500′s third straight losing day

U.S. stock index futures were little changed Wednesday as investors awaited more guidance from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on the central bank’s tightening path. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 10 points, or 0.03%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.07% and 0.04%, respectively. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 declined for a third straight session Tuesday amid relatively thin trading volumes. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite finished Tuesday little changed. The S&P 500 is about flat on the month after rallying more than 9% in July. The three-day Jackson Hole economic symposium starts Thursday with Powell slated to speak Friday morning. Fed watchers expect him to reinforce the central bank’s goal of squashing inflation and keeping expectations about future prices gains in check. “Financial markets will remain in choppy waters until Fed Chair Powell’s Jackson Hole speech on Friday,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. “He may struggle to convince markets that he is comfortable with tightening policy and triggering a recession. The economy is clearly slowing but it is still too early for the Fed to signal that they will be less aggressive with tightening policy.” Investors will also monitor incoming data to gauge the health of the economy. Durable goods and pending home sales are on deck for Wednesday. Asia-Pacific shares were mixed on Wednesday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 posted their third day of losses in the U.S. Mainland China markets slipped. The Shenzhen Component led losses regionally, tumbling 2.88% to end the session at 12,096.39. The Shanghai Composite was 1.86% lower to close at 3,215.20. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 1.07% in the final hour of trade, with the Hang Seng Tech index losing 2.72%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.49% lower at 28,313.47 and the Topix also ended the session 0.22% lower at 1,967.18. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.52% to 6,998.1 while South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.5% at 2,447.45 and the Kosdaq advanced 1.24% to 793.14. Benchmark Brent oil climbed above $100 a barrel on Wednesday after Saudi Arabia suggested this week that OPEC could consider cutting output in response to poor liquidity in the crude futures market and fears about a global economic downturn. Brent for October settlement reached a three-week high and was last up 92 cents at $101.14 per barrel. U.S. crude added 79 cents to trade at $94.53 a barrel. Gold edged down on Wednesday as the dollar held firm, but stuck to a tight range as investors awaited direction on interest rates from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole symposium. Spot gold fell 0.1% to $1,746.09 per ounce by 1207 GMT. It advanced 0.7% in the previous session. U.S. gold futures eased 0.2% to $1,758.60.