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US pre-open: Futures point to early losses following Fed minutes

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Thursday 20 Feb 2020

US pre-open: Futures point to early losses following Fed minutes

(Sharecast News) - US futures had stocks opening lower on Thursday after indices closed at record highs in the previous session.
As of 1225 GMT, Dow futures were down 0.20%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures had the indices opening 0.19% and 0.21% softer, respectively.

The Dow closed 115.84 points higher on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite hit new record highs despite market participants remaining cautious of potential economic fallouts related to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

Wednesday's rally was driven by minutes published late on Wednesday from the most recent US Federal Reserve meeting that showed policymakers were cautiously optimistic regarding the prospect of holding interest rates steady for the duration of 2020.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "Last nights Fed minutes showed that Fed officials, while confident about the US economy did have reservations about any future effects the coronavirus might have on, not only the US economy, but the global economy more broadly. With a slightly different make-up this year as four new rotating Fed Presidents came onto the voting cycle it was quite apparent that US policymakers aren't in any rush to move on rates again for the foreseeable future.

"There was a nod to recent events around the spread of the coronavirus citing it as a risk to the outlook, however, there was little evidence that policymakers were concerned about it adversely affecting the US economy in the short term."

However, despite the solid gains in the previous session, the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak was still weighing on sentiment ahead of the bell.

China's National Health Commission confirmed overnight that 74,576 cases of the new coronavirus had now been confirmed, leading to 2,118 deaths on the mainland.

On the macro front, jobless claims figures will be posted alongside the Philadelphia Fed's February business outlook survey at 1330 GMT, while January's leading index reading will be published at 1500 GMT.

In the corporate space, Domino's Pizza, Norwegian Cruises, Viacom CBS and Dropbox will all post earnings on Thursday.

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