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Top 5 Things to Know in The Market on Thursday

EconomySep 20, 2018 05:31AM ET
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© Reuters. Top 5 things to know today in financial markets - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, September 20:

1. Wall Street Set for Positive Open

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street, as investors set aside concerns over the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.

At 5:30AM ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were up 25 points, or about 0.1%, the S&P 500 futures tacked on 2 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 5 points.

The moves in pre-market trade came after Wall Street closed Wednesday's session on a strong note, with the Dow soaring more than 150 points.

Elsewhere, in Europe, the region's major bourses were mostly higher, with most of the sectors in positive ground. The pan-regional STOXX 600 benchmark was up 0.5% in mid-morning trade, on track for its fifth straight session of gains.

Earlier, Asian markets ended mixed.

2. Micron Reports Earnings

There is a late-quarter lull in earnings reports, but results are still expected from a few notable companies today.

Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) is slated to report fiscal fourth-quarter results after U.S. markets close. The chipmaker is expected to report earnings of $3.32 per share on revenue of $8.25 billion, according to estimates.

Investors will be closely watching the results for more insight into whether the chip sector is heading for a cyclical downtrend.

The stock has already been hit by warnings and indications from other companies that demand in the memory market is waning.

Shares of Micron have fallen to about $45 from about $60 three months ago.

Other companies scheduled to report earnings include Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI), Thor Industries (NYSE:THO), and Steelcase (NYSE:SCS).

3. Dollar, Treasury Yields Slip

Away from equities, the dollar edged lower against its major rivals, hovering around the lowest level in around eight weeks, in part as safe-haven demand for the U.S. currency ebbed as investors set aside trade concerns for now.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.15% at 93.97, not far from Tuesday's low of 93.88, which was the weakest since July 26.

In the bond market, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes, which on Wednesday touched its highest level since May 18, was at 3.066%, compared with its U.S. close of 3.083%.

The 2-year yield, which is sensitive to market expectations of Fed rate hikes, was at 2.799%, compared with a U.S. close of 2.807% percent Wednesday, which was the highest since 2008.

This week's rise in yields comes ahead of what is expected to be a hawkish meeting of the Federal Reserve next week.

4. Philly Fed, Housing Data Ahead

On the data front, the Philly Fed Manufacturing survey is due out at 8:30AM ET, with economists predicting a jump to 17 for September from 11.9 in August. Investors will pay particular attention to the data for any impact tariffs are having on the sector.

At the same time there will be the weekly initial jobless claims figures, with the market looking for a small rise to 210,000 from the week before.

The August report on existing home sales is then due at 10AM ET. On average, economists expect that existing home sales rose 0.3% in August to an annual adjusted rate of 5.35 million.

5. Oil Prices Rise to Highest Since July

Oil prices rose for a third consecutive session, with the U.S. benchmark hitting its highest level since July amid another drawdown in U.S. inventories and strong U.S. gasoline demand

U.S. crude added 0.4% to $71.06 a barrel, the most since July 11, after data showed U.S. crude inventories fell 2.1 million barrels last week, its fifth weekly drawdown, to 394.1 million barrels.

That was the lowest level since February 2015.

Global benchmark Brent crude was up by 5 cents at $79.45.

Prices were also supported by looming U.S. sanctions on Iran, which are widely expected to lead to a tighter market.

Top 5 Things to Know in The Market on Thursday

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