E-Mini S&P 500 Futures Market News and Commentary
The S&P 500 Index ($SPX) on Thursday closed down -1.48 (-0.05%), the Dow Jones Industrials Index ($DOWI) closed up +49.51 (+0.19%), and the Nasdaq 100 Index ($IUXX) closed down -25.79 (-0.33%). U.S. stock indexes gave up early gains Thursday and closed mostly lower on global economic concerns along with hawkish Fed member comments. Stocks opened higher Thursday after U.S. weekly initial unemployment claims fell -12,000 to 209,000, showing a stronger labor market than expectations of -4,000 to 216,000. However, stocks quickly gave up their gains and turned lower on signs of weakness in U.S. manufacturing activity after the Aug Markit U.S. manufacturing PMI unexpectedly fell -0.5 to 49.9, weaker than expectations of +0.1 to 50.5 and the first time that manufacturing activity contracted in nearly 10 years. Hawkish Fed commentary weighed on stock prices as well after Philadelphia Fed President Harker said Thursday "the labor market is strong, and inflation is moving up slowly" and that he's "on hold" right now for further Fed rate cuts. Also, Kansas City Fed President George said Thursday the U.S. economy "doesn't need more accommodation without seeing an outlook that suggests the economy is getting weaker." European data Thursday was mixed after the Eurozone Aug Markit manufacturing PMI unexpectedly rose +0.5 to 47.0, stronger than expectations of -0.3 to 46.2. However, the minutes of the July 24-25 ECB meeting said policy makers agreed the Eurozone’s economic slowdown was likely to be more protracted than expected and that the prospects for global trade "remained poor." U.S./China trade tensions remain high, which is negative for stocks, after the yuan fell to a new 11-1/4 year low against the dollar Thursday at 7.0965 yuan/USD. The VIX S&P 500 Volatility Index ($VIX) on Thursday rose +0.88 to 16.68%, climbing from Wednesday's 3-week low of 15.51%. The VIX is well below last Thursday's 2-week high of 24.10% and the early-Aug 7-1/2 month high of 24.81%.