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Nasdaq 100 E-Mini Dec '18 (NQZ18)

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Nasdaq 100 E-Mini Futures Market News and Commentary

U.S. Stocks Pressured by Reduced Hopes for Fed Easing While VIX Drops to 3-week Low

The S&P 500 ($SPX) on Friday closed mildly lower by -4.66 (-0.16), the Dow Jones Industrials index ($DOWI) closed -17.16 (-0.07%), and the Nasdaq 100 Index ($IUXX) closed down -31.573 (-0.42%). Stocks fell on Friday on slightly reduced hopes for Fed easing after Friday's strong U.S. May retail sales report of +0.5% m/m for both the headline and ex-autos reports, which was close to expectations of +0.6% headline and +0.4% ex-autos. In addition, Friday's U.S. May industrial production report of +0.4% m/m was stronger than expectations of +0.2%. Friday's -2.1 point decline in the preliminary-June U.S. consumer sentiment index was close to market expectations. Stocks on Friday also saw some weakness as China continues to refuse to confirm a Trump-Xi meeting at the G-20 meeting on June 28-29. President Trump on Friday said that "it doesn't matter" if he meets with President Xi because the U.S. is collecting tariff money. Tech stocks were undercut Friday after Broadcom cut its annual sales forecast due to the U.S. blacklisting of Huawei Technologies. Stocks were jittery on Friday on US/Iran tensions after the U.S. military late Thursday released a video that it said showed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from the hull of the Kokuka Courageous tanker after that tanker had been damaged by another mine. President Trump on Friday blamed the tanker attack on Iran and vowed that Iran will not be allowed to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil shipments. The VIX volatility index ($VIX) on Friday edged to a 3-week low despite the lower close in stock prices and the US/Iran tensions and closed the day -0.54 at 15.28%. The VIX remains far below last Monday's 1-month high of 19.75% and the early-May 5-1/4 month high of 23.38%. Big Picture U.S. Stock Market Factors: Bullish factors for the U.S. stock market include (1) sharply lower T-note yields and an 80% chance of a rate cut at the July FOMC meeting, (2) expectations for an SPX earnings growth of +3% in 2019, although that is sharply lower than 2018's stellar +23% pace, and (3) general strength in earnings and buybacks from the 2018 tax cut. Bearish factors include (1) US/Chinese trade and tech tensions with the U.S. threat to place a 25% tariff on another $300 billion of Chinese goods, adding to the current 25% tariff on $250 billion of Chinese goods, (2) slower U.S. and global economic growth, and (3) the recent 2-year high in the dollar index.
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