MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stock Futures Ease, With Energy Shares Set For Scrutiny As Harvey Hits Refineries

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stock futures pointed to losses Monday, with oil stocks set to be in focus as the oil industry and investors try to gauge the extent of damage at energy facilities after then-Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas.

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Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 19 points, or 0.1%, to 21,792.00 and S&P 500 futures shed 1 point at 2,441.50. Nasdaq-100 futures lost 5.50 points, or 0.1%, at 5,819.75.

The devastation of now-Tropical Storm Harvey will be front of investors' minds as trading begins Monday. Houston, the fourth-largest city in the U.S., is grappling with unprecedented flooding and officials reportedly responded to more than 1,000 calls for rescue.

The storm, which was moving toward Louisiana early Monday, knocked out almost 15% of the nation's fuel-making capacity and further disruptions were anticipated. The coast of Texas hosts nearly 30% of U.S. refining capacity, and Houston-area plants account for roughly half of that.

Read:Houston flooding expected to cause bumpy ride for energy markets (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/houston-flooding-expected-to-have-quite-awful-impact-on-energy-markets-2017-08-27)

That led to U.S. gasoline futures jumping nearly 6% early Monday. September Nymex futures recently traded 4% higher at $1.736 per gallon, and the more active October contract climbed nearly 4%.

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Shares of energy companies are set to be active on Monday. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) shut its Baytown refinery -- the second largest in the U.S. -- in a Houston suburb because of the heavy floodwaters, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) said it stopped making fuel at its Deer Park, Texas, plant.

"Although the full impact of the storm's damage is yet to be determined, the markets expect the impact will be felt globally and affect energy markets for many weeks," analysts at FxPro said Monday. "Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, U.S. economic growth dropped by 50% in a quarter, therefore markets will be closely watching the damage from Harvey and its effect on the U.S. economy."

Read:Insurance industry to easily absorb losses from Harvey, experts say (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/insurance-industry-to-easily-absorb-losses-from-harvey-experts-say-2017-08-27)

The SPDR Energy Select Sector exchange-traded fund (XLE) should also be active as investors watch for more developments about the country's energy infrastructure. That ETF on Friday rose 0.4%, a fourth-consecutive advance.

The dollar also holds the potential of driving the direction of Wall Street Monday, with the ICE Dollar down 0.3% to 92.44, then recovering somewhat, as the greenback lost ground against the yen, the euro and pound.

U.S. stocks on Friday closed mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-climb-as-market-gears-up-for-yellens-jackson-hole-speech-2017-08-25) after neither Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen nor European Central Bank President Mario Draghi offered clues about future monetary policy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.1% and the S&P 500 index rose 0.2%, but the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.1%.

Still, all three benchmarks finished last week with gains.

Economic data: The Commerce Department's report on advanced trade in goods in July is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. The advanced trade gap is expected to widen to a seasonally adjusted $64.6 billion, according to economists polled by MarketWatch.

See: MarketWatch's economic calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

Other markets: Elsewhere in the energy markets, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in October fell 40 cents, or 0.9%, to $47.47 a barrel in the Globex electronic session. But October Brent crude rose 12 cents, or 0.2% to $52.55 a barrel.

Gold prices were up 0.1% at $1,293.50 an ounce.

In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up 0.1% while the Nikkei ended fractionally lower. European equities fell as the euro hit its highest against the dollar in more than two years.

Trading in the U.K. was closed for the August bank holiday.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 28, 2017 06:22 ET (10:22 GMT)