MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow Futures Up More Than 100 Points As Fears Ease Over Hurricane Irma, North Korea

By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Gold prices tumble, dollar surges against Japanese yen

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U.S. stock futures shot higher on Monday, as Hurricane Irma hit Florida with less force than expected, while an easing of North Korea tension also boosted appetite for riskier assets such as equities.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 113 points, or 0.5%, to 21,893, while S&P 500 futures rose 12 points, or 0.5%, to 2,473. Nasdaq-100 futures gained 32.75 points, or 0.6%, to 5,958.

U.S. stocks booked losses last week (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-street-stocks-set-for-losses-as-life-threatening-irma-aims-for-florida-2017-09-08) ahead of Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday. Among major indexes, the Nasdaq Composite suffered the biggest drop, ending the week down 1.2%, while the Dow industrials fell 0.9% and the S&P 500 index dropped 0.6%.

Forecast to be downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday, Hurricane Irma was expected to keep pushing across Florida and make its way into Georgia. Irma has left at least 4 million accounts without power, while insurance losses in the U.S. alone are estimated to total from $15 billion to $50 billion, according to a report Sunday by risk-assessment firm AIR Worldwide.

Read:Though weakened, Hurricane Irma continues to pound Florida (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/worst-case-scenario-as-hurricane-irma-makes-landfall-in-florida-2017-09-10)

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Still, the storm was so far presenting less havoc than originally expected. The economic damage -- which investors were fretting about in the runup to the storm -- could come in less than projected.

Meanwhile, investors may have gotten another break from easing geopolitical tensions. North Korea failed to conduct another missile test over the weekend, as some predicted might happen to mark the anniversary of the country's founding.

"Given the market response in recent weeks to such actions, traders were understandably cautious throughout the week, but with the day having passed without drama, we're seeing a move away from the safe havens," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note to investors.

Still, tensions may return with a UN Security Council vote due later this week that calls for further and tougher sanctions on the isolated nation. North Korea warned on Monday that the U.S. would pay "due price" for pushing that U.N. resolution forward.

"The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the U.S. the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history," said North Korea's foreign ministry via a statement published by the official KCNA news agency, according to AFP (https://www.yahoo.com/news/north-korea-warns-us-greatest-pain-over-fresh-201000211.html).

Stocks to watch: Reinsurers, which have taken sizable hits since Hurricane Harvey caused devastating flooding in Texas, were likely to be in focus on Monday owing to Irma. Included in that group are Everest Re Group Ltd.(RE) and XL Group Ltd.(XL).

Stocks in insurers, such as American International Group Inc.(AIG) , may also attract attention. Insurers in Europe were gaining on signs that Irma's impact may be less than expected.

Shares of The Walt Disney Co.(DIS) will be in the spotlight as Irma bears down on Orlando. In a rare move (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/in-a-rare-move-walt-disney-world-to-close-for-hurricane-irma-2017-09-08), Walt Disney World was closed Saturday to prepare for the storm, and is expected to remain closed until at least Tuesday. Orlando hotels were reportedly full of storm evacuees.

Other markets: Asian markets had a largely stronger day (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-rev-up-after-lull-in-north-korea-tensions-2017-09-10), keying off reduced fears over North Korea. The Nikkei 225 index bounced back from its worst week in seven months to gain 1.4% as the Japanese yen, a traditional haven in times of geopolitical and economic stress, weakened.

European stocks moved higher at the open.

The ICE Dollar Index rose 0.2% to 91.53, led by gains for the greenback against the yen , which rose to Yen108.51 from Yen107.84 late Friday. Gold , another haven asset, fell $11.80, or 0.9%, to $1,339.40 an ounce.

Oil prices moved higher, with WTI crude up 0.8%, to $47.86 a barrel. Brent crude up 0.4% to $53.99 a barrel.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 11, 2017 03:45 ET (07:45 GMT)