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US pre-open: Futures point to gains as interest rate cuts return to focus

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Friday 19 Jul 2019

US pre-open: Futures point to gains as interest rate cuts return to focus

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street futures pointed to a firmer open on Friday after two top Federal Reserve officials hinted that more aggressive policy easing from the central bank was on the horizon.
At 1230 BST, Dow futures were up 0.19%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were 0.07% and 0.14% higher, respectively.

Stocks were heading south on Thursday but got a boost after New York Fed President John Williams said the central bank needed to "act quickly" with the economy slowing. He added that it was "better to take preventative measures than wait for disaster to unfold".

However, later in the session, a spokesperson for the New York Fed took steps to curb investors' expectations, telling CNBC that he was drawing from academic research rather than outlining potential policy actions at the Federal Open Market Committee's next meeting.

Oanda's Craig Elam said: "Stock markets are ending the week on a high and once again we have the Fed to thank for it.

"Equities in the US enjoyed a nice rebound on Thursday when New York Fed President John Williams claimed that given the more limited resources at their disposal than in the past, preventative rate cuts would be more suitable than waiting for disaster, a clear nod to what we can expect at the upcoming meeting later this month."

Eyes were also set to be firmly fixed on escalating tensions in the Middle East after President Donald Trump revealed that a US Navy vessel had destroyed an Iranian drone as part of a "defensive action" in the Strait of Hormuz.

In terms of earnings, BlackRock shares inched forward in pre-market trading despite reporting second-quarter revenues that missed estimates.

American Express will report earnings later on to round out a week that saw the likes of Netflix, IBM, Microsoft and Morgan Stanley update the market on their latest trading quarters.

Things looked quite thin on the data front, with just the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for July set for publication at 1500 BST.

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