Stocks- U.S. Futures Rise Despite Political Uncertainty

14/03/2018 10:44:39 Stock Market – U.S. Futures were higher on Wednesday, as investors were unmoved by political uncertainty and looked ahead to economic data.

The S&P 500 futures rose eight points or 0.29% to 2,780.75 as of 6:42 AM ET (10:42 GMT) while Dow futures increased 89 points or 0.36% to 25,139.0. Meanwhile tech heavy Nasdaq 100 futures was up 32 points or 0.45% to 7,115.25.

U.S. President Donald Trump is considering imposing tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports, Reuters reported. The tariffs would be largely directed at technology and telecommunications sectors.

The news comes just a week after Trump imposed steep import tariffs on steel and aluminum, although Canada and Mexico are exempt as the administration seeks to negotiate a trade deal. More tariffs could increase fears of a global trade war and weigh on investor appetite for riskier assets.

Investors are still digesting news that Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Markets closed in the negative on Tuesday, amid the political uncertainty.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) was among the biggest gainers in pre-market trading, surging 4.08% while Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) inched up 0.51% and semiconductor Micron Technology Inc (NASDAQ:MU) rose 1.77%. Insurance company Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) increased 5.69% amid news that it was splitting into two companies, with one focusing on the UK and Europe and the other on Asia, the U.S. and Africa.

Elsewhere General Electric (NYSE:GE) fell 0.55% while Frontier Communications (NASDAQ:FTR) dipped 10.46% and China Lodging Group Limited (NASDAQ:HTHT) was down 7.11%.

On the data front, retail sales and the producer price index (PPI) data is due at 8:30 AM ET (12:30 GMT) while business inventories is scheduled for 10:00 AM ET (14:00 GMT).

In Europe stocks were up. Germany’s DAX rose 35 points or 0.29% while in France the CAC 40 increased 15 points or 0.30% and in London, the FTSE 100 was up 17 points or 0.25%. Meanwhile the pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 gained 12 points or 0.36% while Spain’s IBEX 35 rallied three points or 0.03%.

In commodities, gold futures were down 0.14% to $1,325.30 a troy ounce while crude oil futures rose 0.66% to $61.11 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.11% to 89.80.