Portfolio

US pre-open: Stocks seen muted as investors eye raft of data

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Thursday 15 Mar 2018

US pre-open: Stocks seen muted as investors eye raft of data

(ShareCast News) - US futures pointed to a muted open on Wall Street on Thursday following three days of losses amid worries about a trade war, as investors eyed a slew of data releases.
At 1200 GMT, Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 futures were up 0.1%, while Nasdaq futures were flat. Stocks ended the previous session lower amid renewed worries about a trade war as President Trump looked to impose fresh tariffs on China. According to reports, Trump is looking to levy tariffs on up to $60bn of Chinese imports, with a focus on technology, telecoms and apparel.

Trump said on Wednesday that his administration is looking to cut the US trade deficit with China by $100bn.

Meanwhile, it's been confirmed that CNBC host and conservative commentator Larry Kudlow, who was an informal economic adviser to Trump's 2016 campaign, will replace Gary Cohn as the president's top economic adviser.

David Morrison, chief market analyst at GKFX, said it's worth noting that all the US majors have pulled back from their best levels in a move reminiscent of yesterday's price action.

"In fact, this week we've seen a pattern of early rallies petering out and ending in a series of weaker closes, pointing to dwindling risk appetite from traders. Earlier in the week the S&P 500 pushed above the highs hit at the end of February as the US stock market underwent a corrective bounce. However, the index failed to break above 2,800 and has now fallen back towards its 50-day moving average just below 2,750.

"Investors are concerned that Trump's imposition of steel and aluminium tariffs is looking more like a targeted attack on China. The odds on an all-out trade war have shortened as Trump has been particularly outspoken about China's alleged theft of intellectual property. Yesterday saw calls to cut the US's trade deficit with China by 26%."

There's no shortage of economic data for investors to sink their teeth into, with initial jobless claims, import and export price indices, NY Empire State manufacturing and the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey all at 1230 GMT, while the NAHB housing market index is at 1400 GMT.

On the corporate font, Solid Biosciences was set to tumble at the open after it said a clinical trial had been put on hold by the Food and Drug Administration following an adverse reaction in one of the patients.

Elsewhere, Dollar General shares rallied in pre-market trade after its fourth-quarter same-store sales beat expectations and the company's outlook was upbeat.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals was also set for an up day after saying its experimental drug to treat patients with a rare blood disorder met its main goal in a late-stage study.

Home Security company ADT was also likely to be in the spotlight after the release of its fourth-quarter results, which showed it swung to a profit as revenue rose.

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