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GPS

Futures Roiled by Brewing Trade War

US stock futures were indicated to open sharply lower Friday with global financial markets awash in red after President Donald Trump triggered fears of a global trade war and Japan's central banker warned that the era of easy money was coming to an end. Japan's Nikkei plummeted 2.5%, permeating European bourses which were already on the defensive as a result of losses in the automaker sector.

Wall Street was still licking its wounds from Thursday's freefall that was ignited by the president's pledge to impose tariffs and quotas on imported steel and aluminium. Compounded by hawkish Fed-speak from Fed chairman Jerome Powell and NY president William Dudley that stoked rate hike jitters, the Dow kicked off after-hours trade at an eleven day low.

Global markets were hammered overnight when Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda revealed plans to begin an exit strategy for quantitative easing next year if 2% inflation is reached. The yen rallied to a 16-month high versus the dollar, and pushed the Nikkei to a loss of 2.5%.

On the heels of Kuroda's declaration, investors poured out of US equities and into safe-havens after Trump tweeted that "trade wars are easy to win." Accordingly, gold prices lunged $20 per ounce, shorter-dated Treasuries reacted and the volatility index shot up to 25.

Into the NYSE open, Dow futures are indicated to open more than 150 points lower, pacing losses in S&P and Nasdaq futures.

On Friday's calendar is the final February University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, expected to decline slightly to 99.5.

In earnings news, shares of Gap ( GPS ) are higher in pre-market activity following the release of upbeat Q4 results and encouraging comparable store sales last year.

Smith and Wesson's parent company, American Outdoor ( AOBC ), said sales were down 33% in the fourth quarter and issued disappointing guidance for Q1, fueling a double-digit loss in the stock.

JC Penney ( JCP ) shares are also lower in pre-market trade after the retailer missed revenue forecasts and reported a seven cent decline in quarterly earnings, though still better than Wall Street's expectations.

-Dow Jones Industrial down 0.86%

-S&P 500 futures down 0.59%

-Nasdaq 100 futures down 1.00%

SENTIMENT

Nikkei down 2.50%

Hang Seng down 1.48%

Shanghai Composite down 0.59%

FTSE-100 down 1.10%

DAX-30 down 2.17%

PRE-MARKET SECTOR WATCH

(-) Large cap tech: Lower

(-) Chip stocks: Lower

(-) Software stocks: Lower

(-) Hardware stocks: Lower

(-) Internet stocks: Lower

(-) Oil stocks: Lower

(-) Biotech stocks: Lower

(-) Drug stocks: Lower

(-) Financial stocks: Lower

(-) Retail stocks: Lower

(-) Industrial stocks: Lower

(-) Airlines: Lower

(-) Autos: Lower

UPSIDE MOVERS:

(+) ZSAN (+42.86%) Issued new patent for migraine treatment

(+) GPS (+6.58%) Reported better-than-expected Q4 results, issued upbeat FY18 guidance

(+) SGBX (+5.82%) FY17 sales topped analysts estimates

DOWNSIDE MOVERS:

(-) AFH (-32.45%) Issued FY18 EPS guidance below expectations

(-) OPK (-15.41%) Q4 loss widened above street expectations, missed revenue estimates

(-) AOBC (-10.20%) Q4 EPS fell 86% from year ago, sales were down 33%, missing expectations, issued downbeat outlook

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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