U.S. stock futures pointed to an upbeat final session of trade for 2018 on Monday, as investors drew inspiration from trade headlines pointing to hopes of progress between the U.S. and China.
How are benchmarks performing?
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
climbed 228 points, or 1%, to 23,263, while S&P 500 futures
rose 22 points, or 0.9%, to 2,508 and Nasdaq-100
futures jumped 66.75 points, or 1%, to 6,360.25.
Last week, major indexes managed the first weekly gain for all three indexes since the end of November. Friday’s back-and-forth session ended with a late push higher fizzling out, leaving the Dow Jones Industrial Average
to settle down 0.3% to 23,062.40. The S&P 500
finished off 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite
eked out a 0.1% gain.
For the week, the S&P 500 logged a 2.9% rise, while the Dow rose 2.8% and the Nasdaq rallied 4%.
But with one session left to go, the Dow is looking at a drop of 1,656.82 points, or 6.7% for 2018, its biggest one-year point and percentage decline since 2008, while a quarterly loss of 12.83% is the worst since the first quarter of 2009. A monthly loss of 9.7% makes it the worst December since 1931 for the Dow and the biggest one-month percentage decline since February 2009.
The year is also shaping up as the worst since 2008 for the S&P 500, down 7%, and the Nasdaq Composite, off 4.6%.
What’s driving the market?
While Monday’s session may see thin volumes ahead of Tuesday’s New Year’s Day holiday, appetite for perceived riskier assets such as stocks could be getting a lift from trade headlines.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday that he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping had made “big progress” in a telephone discussion about trade, and that a deal was “moving along very well.” But sources close to the talks said Trump may be exaggerating progress in a bid to calm markets, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The report said the U.S. is pushing China to provide details of the proposals it made since the two leaders met in Buenos Aires on Dec. 1, such as opening up the country to foreign investors. Some in the Trump administration have expressed doubt that there will be meaningful progress unless Beijing lays out the exact changes it will make.
Fresh data from China showed manufacturing activity hit a two-year low, a sign of growing weakness for the world’s second largest economy.
A government shutdown is set to stretch into 2019, with both sides at a stalemate over border-wall funding, and most lawmakers away for the holidays.
How are other markets trading?
Oil prices rose along with stocks, with West Texas Intermediate crude prices
up 1.3% to $45.90 a barrel. Gold prices
slipped, while the ICE Dollar Index
Most Asian markets were closed ahead of the New Year’s holiday and will remain shut Tuesday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index
rose 1.3%, and was looking at a near 14% loss for 2018, according to FactSet.
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