US Stock Futures Point To Lower Open As Investors Tread Cautiously Ahead Of FOMC Minutes Release On Wednesday

on August 20 2013 5:56 AM
FOMC
The January FOMC meeting offers the first glimpse of a new lineup of policymakers. Reuters

Stock futures suggest that U.S. stock markets on Tuesday could be rangebound as investors await the Federal Open Market Committee's, or FOMC, July meeting minutes, expected to be released on Wednesday, for a better understanding of the thinking among Fed officials about the future of the bond-buying program, popularly known as quantitative-easing, or QE.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.11 percent, while futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.09 percent, and those on the Nasdaq 100 index were down 0.05 percent.

“A more dovish statement appeared after the meeting, and the minutes will be scoured for how this may affect the timing of when bond buying will start to be tapered,” Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said in a research note.

The possibility of the Fed winding down its $85 billion-a-month asset-purchase program by next month citing signs of a sustained economic recovery in the U.S. economy, has triggered turmoil in emerging market economies, as risk-averse investors have shunned Asian equity and bond markets, in recent weeks. A reduction in the Fed’s bond-buying is expected to adversely impact emerging economies as such a move could lead to further capital outflows, putting pressure on local currencies, equity markets and growth in those countries.

“First, bond yields have been raising in the U.S…the reason is that markets are expecting tapering to happen from the U.S. Fed… which is easily translated into a negative view on emerging Asian debt and currencies,” Varun Khandelwal, managing director at Bullero Capital Pvt Ltd, told International Business Times.

Markets across Asia slid on Tuesday, on capital flight concerns. The Shanghai Composite index ended down 0.62 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged 2.2 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.67 percent, while South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index closed down 1.55 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average closed down 2.63 percent while data released by the Japanese government, on Tuesday, showed that the country’s all industry index, which measures the monthly change in overall production by all sectors of the Japanese economy, declined 0.6 percent as expected in June, compared to an increase of 1.2 percent in the previous month.

India’s BSE Sensex was trading down 0.45 percent in late-afternoon trade as the Indian rupee continued its free fall on Tuesday, hitting a new lifetime low of 64.13 against the dollar, breaching a previous low of 63.45 set on Monday. Indian equity markets have been among the worst affected in Asia, after its benchmark Sensex index lost more than 1,000 points in the last two trading sessions, and the rupee lost more than 3 percent of its value in the same period.

In Europe, markets were mostly trading significantly lower on Tuesday, as sentiment remained jittery ahead of the release of the Fed’s policy meeting minutes on Wednesday at 2 p.m. EDT. The Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 1.19 percent, London’s FTSE 100 was down 0.7 percent, Germany’s DAX-30 was down 1.17 percent, while France's CAC-40 was trading down 1.62 percent.

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