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US benchmarks seen starting lower on Friday as traders continue to mull over Fed comment; crude prices fall

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US stocks are seen starting lower on Friday as traders continue to weigh up issues including the tapering of the Fed’s stimulus measures, coronavirus (COVID-19) fears, and China’s data restrictions.

Today there is no economic data due for release or many news releases so the market focus is still on events this week.

In futures trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 148 points; the S&P 500 is off 19 points, while the Nasdaq futures are trading 41 points lower.

It comes after benchmarks closed mixed on Wall Street on Thursday with the DJIA falling 68 points, or 0.19%, to 34,894 for its third-straight session. But the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq managed to close in positive territory, rising 0.13% to 4,405 and 0.11% to 14,541 respectively.

On Friday, China  passed a major data protection law concerning how companies collect and handle user information, which could affect the way China’s technology giants operate. adding to worries about the country’s economic slowdown.

Next week sees the start of then Jackson Hole symposium in Wyoming, with Chairman Jerome Powell likely to provide more clues on the US Central Bank’s thinking on the economy and its stance on tapering.

Five other things to watch on Friday:

Analysts expect Foot Locker to have earned $1 per share on revenue of $2.09 billion in its latest quarter when it releases earnings before the New York bell.

Crude prices are falling Friday after US natural-gas supplies rose 46 billion cubic feet last week, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. The closely-watched Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release later today.

Following Tesla’s AI day on Thursday, Elon Musk announced he may launch a humanoid robot prototype in 2022, called the ‘Tesla Bot’, which is designed to do “boring, repetitious and dangerous” work. The billionaire said the robot could have “profound implications for the economy”.

Agricultural machinery giant Deere, reporting today, is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $4.57 per share on revenue of $10.30 billion.

Spotify Technology SA has announced the board’s approval to buy back shares up to $1 billion. The company will reportedly begin the share repurchases from the third quarter of 2021.

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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