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Market: Stocks to open lower as trade war concerns continue

US futures are pointing to a lower open today after ending higher on Friday. Investors remained concerned on a potential global trade war following President Donald Trump’s hawkish stance on trade with China as well as foreign steel and aluminum tariffs.

Investors are looking forward to the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee meeting to hear more from the newly appointed Chairman Jerome Powell at his first press conference. The Federal Reserve will likely lift the interest rates by half a point in this year. This could peel away investors from equities.

The S&P futures tumbled 0.63% to 2,738.50, Dow futures fell 0.59% to 24,817, and Nasdaq dropped 1.43% to 6,943.50. Elsewhere, shares at Asian markets closed mixed on Monday, while European stocks are trading lower.

On the European economic front, data from Istat showed that Italy’s industrial production fell 1.9% on month in January after rising 2.1% in December. Other data revealed that foreign trade deficit narrowed to EUR 87 million in January from EUR 575 million last year. Both exports and imports advanced by 9.5% and 7.8% respectively in January.

Eurostat data showed that trade surplus fell to EUR 19.9 billion in January from 23.2 billion in December, and exports tumbled 0.7%, while imports grew 1.1%. Another Eurostat data revealed that Eurozone construction output decreased 2.2% on month in January after rising 0.7% in December.

On the Asian economic front, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry revealed that Japan’s exports climbed 1.8% and imports surged 16.5% on year in February. The National Bureau of Statistics data showed that house prices climbed in 44 cities out of 70 surveyed, fell in 16 cities and remained flat in 10 cities. BusinessNZ data revealed that New Zealand’s services index performance fell 0.7 points to 55 in February.

On March 16, US ended higher, with Dow up 0.29% to 24,946.51. Nasdaq rose 0.0033% to 7,481.99, and S&P 500 gained 0.17% to 2,752.01. The markets remained positive on unexpected improvements in consumer sentiment and bigger-than-predicted increase in industrial production.

Meanwhile, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Raphael Bostic will speak at the National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference in Miami today.

On the corporate front, Facebook (FB) stock declined 3.73% in premarket after Cambridge Analytica firm with ties to the 2016 Trump campaign improperly collected 50 million users data without their knowledge. Newell Brands (NWL) stock grew 4.40% in premarket after planning to appoint Carl Icahn’s four nominees to its board immediately. Micro Focus International (MFGP) stock plunged 55.25% after it lowered annual revenue estimate and CEO Chris Hsu resigned.

Facebook (FB) stock declined 3.73% in premarket after Cambridge Analytica firm with ties to the 2016 Trump campaign improperly collected 50 million users data without their knowledge.

On the earnings front, key companies reporting earnings today include Cheetah Mobile (CMCM), Oracle (ORCL), AZZ Inc. (AZZ) and Canadian Solar (CSIQ).

Crude oil futures is down 0.50% to $62.03. Gold is trading down 0.14% to $1,310.40, and silver is down 0.20% to $16.24. On the currency front, the US dollar is trading up 0.17% at 106.152 yen. Against the euro, the dollar is down 0.02% to $1.2281. Against the pound, the dollar is up 0.62% to $1.4028.

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