Stock futures picked up modest gains ahead of Friday's NYSE open with soft housing market data easing Wall Street's persistent rate hike jitters. After straddling the flatline since yesterday's close with White House shakeups and special counsel investigations weighing on global financial markets, the Dow is set for a higher open with the futures contract last 40 points above fair value.
Led by a dive in construction of multi-family units, housing starts were down 7% in February to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1.236 million, below expectations of 1.285 million units. Permits were down 5.7% to a SAAR of 1.298 million vs 1.322 million estimates.
Friday's remaining data includes February industrial production and capacity utilization, the preliminary March consumer sentiment index from the Univ of Michigan, and the January job openings and labor turnover survey (JOLTS).
Global financial markets were rattled by Thursday's late-breaking news surrounding Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election. Mueller issued subpoenas to President Trump's businesses, triggering a 150 points drop in the Dow.
The defensive tone overnight was exacerbated by a Washington Post report claiming Trump was letting go of another key member of his cabinet and was going to replace National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster with military hawk John Bolton. The former UN ambassador reportedly endorses a pre-emptive military strike against North Korea and Iran.
-Dow Jones Industrial up 0.08%
-S&P 500 futures up 0.06%
-Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.06%
Nikkei down 0.58%
Hang Seng down 0.12%
Shanghai Composite down 0.63%
FTSE-100 up 0.20%
DAX-30 up 0.51%
PRE-MARKET SECTOR WATCH
(+/-) Large cap tech: Mixed
(-) Chip stocks: Lower
(+/-) Software stocks: Flat
(+/-) Hardware stocks: Mixed
(-) Internet stocks: Lower
(+/-) Oil stocks: Mixed
(+) Biotech stocks: Higher
(-) Drug stocks: Lower
(+) Financial stocks: Higher
(+/-) Retail stocks: Flat
(+) Industrial stocks: Higher
(+) Airlines: Higher
(+/-) Autos: Flat
(+) AMRS (+20.07%) Reported surprise Q4 profit above expectations, guided FY18 sales in-line
(+) HWCC (+15.67%) wings to a profit, beating expectations for earnings and sales
(+) KODK (+15.20%) Issued guidance for FY18 revenue above previous year
(-) OSTK (-13.59%) Q4 loss and revenue was below expectations
(-) RMTI (-6.11%) Reported wider-than-expected Q4 loss, sales beat estimates
(-) PERY (-4.11%) Q4 results in-line with estimates, issues soft guidance for FY19
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