Prolonged Government Shutdown, Looming Debt Ceiling Crisis Weigh On US Stock Futures

  on October 07 2013 5:35 AM
Nasdaq
Construction crew work outside the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square, Aug. 23, 2013. Reuters

U.S. stock index futures suggest a significantly lower opening to markets on Monday, as the impasse over approving the federal budget continues along with a partial shutdown of the U.S. government, which is set to enter its second week, leaving investors anxious over the fate of the Oct. 17 debt ceiling.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.9 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 1.03 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were down 0.97 percent.

“The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit, and the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us,” House Speaker John Boehner told ABC in an interview as reported by MarketWatch. “I’m not going to raise the debt limit without a serious conversation about dealing with problems that are driving the debt up."

Even as the deadlock between the Senate and the House continued with House Republicans tying the budget crisis to a debate on the debt-ceiling issue and, an immediate end to the shutdown that began on Oct. 1 appeared far-fetched, analysts expect Republicans and Democrats in Congress to come together to broker a deal before the Oct. 17 deadline.

“Our best guess is that a comprehensive agreement will be reached sometime close to the 17th October debt-ceiling deadline. That would mean at least another week of uncertainty, which will probably keep the US equity market on the back foot,” Jessica Hinds, an economist with Capital Economics, wrote in a research note.

As the government shutdown has delayed the release of most federal economic data including the September unemployment report, investors will look ahead to the Federal Reserve's Consumer Credit report for August that will be released at 3 p.m. EDT on Monday. A median forecast from a Bloomberg report pegged consumer credit to increase to $12.9 billion in August, after rising at a slower pace in July to $10.4 billion, from a revised $11.9 billion reported in June.

Investors are also expected to pore over the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s September meeting, in which the central bank took the surprise decision to leave its monthly bond-buying program unchanged, when they are released on Wednesday.

In Europe and Asia, markets traded sharply lower on Monday, as the crisis in the U.S. over approving the federal budget and the debt ceiling limit hurt investor sentiment.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index and London’s FTSE 100 were both down 0.87 percent while Germany's DAX-30 and France's CAC-40 were both down 1.07 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei ended down 1.22 percent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.90 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.71 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.13 percent and India's BSE Sensex was trading down 0.24 percent, in late afternoon trade. China’s Shanghai Composite index was closed for a holiday.

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