E-Mini S&P 500 Futures Market News and Commentary
The S&P 500 Index ($SPX) on Wednesday closed down -0.20%, the Dow Jones Industrials Index ($DOWI) closed down -0.08%, and the Nasdaq 100 Index ($IUXX) closed down -0.29%. U.S. stock indexes posted modest losses Wednesday on U.S. economic concerns and on tensions in Hong Kong that may derail a U.S./China trade agreement. Economic concerns weighed on stock prices after Wednesday's Sep U.S. retail sales report unexpectedly fell -0.3% and -0.1% ex-autos, weaker than expectations of +0.3% and +0.2% ex-autos and the first decline in 7 months. Also undercutting stock prices Wednesday was concern that increased Hong Kong tensions may prevent the U.S. and China from agreeing to a trade deal after China's foreign ministry Wednesday threatened unspecified "strong countermeasures" if the U.S. Congress passes a bill offering support to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Stocks recovered from their worst levels Wednesday on carry-over support from a rally in the Euro Stoxx 50 to a new 1-1/2 year high today on Brexit optimism after UK Brexit Secretary Barclay told a parliamentary committee today that UK Prime Minister Johnson will seek an extension on Saturday if a deal hasn't been reached by then. If a Brexit deal is approved by the EU leaders and the UK Parliament, then the UK will be able to exit the EU on October 31 with a long transition period during which the UK will remain under single-market rules while a UK-EU trade agreement is negotiated. The markets in any case do not expect a no-deal Brexit on Oct 31. The betting odds are only about 15% for a no-deal Brexit this year. Comments on Wednesday from Chicago Fed President Evans were bullish for stocks as he signaled he may support another Fed rate cut when he said, "there is an argument for more accommodation now to provide some further risk-management buffer against potential downside shocks." Another supportive factor for stocks was Wednesday's +3 point rise in the Oct NAHB housing market index to a 1-3/4 year high of 71, stronger than expectations of unchanged at 68. The Fed Beige Book, released Wednesday afternoon, was slightly negative for stocks as information collected by the 12 Fed regional banks in the month through Oct 7 stated that the U.S. economy expanded at a "slight to moderate pace" with some districts reporting that "persistent trade tensions and slower growth weighed on activity." The VIX S&P 500 Volatility Index ($VIX) on Wednesday rose by +0.14 to 13.68%. The VIX on Tuesday fell to a 3-1/2 week low of 13.39% and has fallen back to the lower end of the recent range between the late-July 5-3/4 month low of 11.69% and the early-Aug 9-month high of 24.81%.