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US pre-open: Stocks seen higher ahead of retail sales

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Wednesday 14 Mar 2018

US pre-open: Stocks seen higher ahead of retail sales

(ShareCast News) - US futures pointed to a firmer open on Wall Street on Wednesday following losses in the previous session, as investors look ahead to the release of retail sales data.
At 1115 GMT, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 0.3%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were 0.4% higher. Stocks ended in the red on Tuesday as investors mulled over news that President Trump had sacked US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced with him CIA director Mike Pompeo. The sacking came just days after Gary Cohn's departure, sparking concerns that Trump has lost two key figures when it comes to economic and foreign policy.

Following Tuesday's in-line inflation data, the main focus of the day will be on retail sales figures for February at 1230 GMT, which are due alongside the latest producer price index. Business inventories are at 1400 GMT.

Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, said: "With Friday's jobs report showing weak wage growth and core inflation staying constant at 1.8%, investors' fears over runaway inflation have cooled significantly. US retail sales are expected to increase 0.3% month-on-month in February, up from -0.3% the previous month. Even if this figure prints above expectation it is unlikely to reignite the market panic of last month which resulted in the US stocks markets entering correction territory.

"The dollar is trading 0.1% higher versus a basket of currencies. A surprise to the upside could see the dollar index target the psychological level of 90.00. Meanwhile a weak print could see the dollar index take step lower towards 89.00."

In corporate news, Signet was set for a down day after the release of its fourth-quarter earnings, while Express was also likely to see active trading after its first-quarter update.

Elsewhere, Walmart revealed that it is expanding its online grocery delivery service from six US metro areas to more than 100 in total by the end of the year.

Also on Wednesday, Broadcom said it has withdrawn and terminated its offer to buy Qualcomm after President Trump blocked it on the grounds of national security.

"Although we are disappointed with this outcome, Broadcom will comply with the order," it said.


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