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Futures higher as North Korea tensions ease slightly

Posted by: Admin | Posted on: August 14th, 2017 | 0 Comments

(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to open higher on Monday as tensions on the Korean peninsula eased slightly after key U.S. officials played down the risk of an imminent war with North Korea.

Global stocks lost nearly $1 trillion last week after President Donald Trump warned North Korea that it would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States, leading to a war of words between Pyongyang and Washington.

However, U.S. officials including National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and CIA Director Mike Pompeo played down the risk on Sunday, while South Korea’s president said resolving Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions must be done peacefully.

“Feels as though the North Korean tension seems to be abating a bit, with commentary coming out of China and the United States. But the situation seems to have de-escalated in the near term”, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

“After the one and a half percent self-off last week, we got a bit of a investor attitude to buy the dip,” Hogan said.

The SP and the Dow posted their worst weekly decline last week in nearly five months due to the tensions.

However, the three major U.S. stocks indexes managed to break a three-day losing streak on Friday as the chances of another interest rate hike this year were reduced following a weaker-than-expected July consumer price data.

The Federal Reserve has a 2 percent inflation target and tracks a measure that has been stuck at 1.5 percent since May despite the labor market being near full employment.

At 8:31 a.m. ET (1231 GMT), Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 104 points, or 0.48 percent, with 23,051 contracts changing hands and SP 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 14 points, or 0.57 percent, with 194,670 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 35.75 points, or 0.61 percent, on volume of 33,817 contracts.

Oil prices fell as a slowdown in Chinese refining raised concerns about demand in the world’s second-biggest consumer, while an increase in U.S. drilling capacity could deepen a global supply glut. [O/R]

Among stocks, Tesla (TSLA.O) rose 1.84 percent after two brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, citing the potential success of the company’s Model 3 sedan. (JD.O), China’s second-largest e-commerce firm, was off about 5 percent after reporting a wider net loss due to higher marketing costs.

Alibaba (BABA.N) was up about 1.02 percent after Dan Loeb’s Third Point bought 4.5 million shares in the Chinese e-commerce giant.

Netflix (NFLX.O) shares were down 0.81 percent after Barron’s reported on Saturday that the stock could drop by more than half by the end of the decade as Walt Disney (DIS.N) plans its own streaming service and Amazon (AMZN.O) looms.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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