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 pointed to a rally for Wall Street 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 118 points, or 0.6%, to 21,897, while S&P 500 futures rose 13.25 points, or 0.5%, to 2,474.25. Nasdaq-100 futures gained 44.75 points, or 0.8%, to 5,969.25.

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%.

Hurricane Irma was downgraded to Category 1 early Monday after tearing a destructive path across South Florida on Sunday, making landfall as a Category 3 hurricane. The storm, due to be downgraded to a tropic storm, is expected to hit Tampa and Orlando early Monday and Tallahassee on Monday afternoon.

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.

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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)

Still, the storm was so far presenting less havoc than originally expected.

"The actual damages caused by the hurricane could finally be less than $50 billion versus $192 billion estimated prior to the hit. The U.S. insurers could take a breather on Monday," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at LGC.com, in a note to clients.

On Saturday, William Dudley, the president of the New York Federal Reserve, said havoc wreaked by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could lift the U.S. economy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-dudley-says-hurricanes-harvey-irma-to-give-unfortunate-boost-to-us-economy-2017-09-08) in 2018, owing to the rebuilding that will be needed.

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 Monday that calls for further and tougher sanctions on the isolated nation. More saber rattling was heard out of North Korea on Monday over potentially harsher sanctions for the country after its sixth nuclear test.

If the U.S. does "rig up the illegal and unlawful 'resolution' on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure the U.S. pays due price," 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).

There are no key economic data releases on the docket for Monday.

Stocks to watch: Shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.(TEVA) were up nearly 8% in premarket. The Israeli drug company on Monday named Lundbeck's Kare Schultz as its new chief executive. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/teva-names-lundbecks-kare-schultz-as-new-ceo-2017-09-11)

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 Monday on signs that Irma's impact may be less than expected.

Shares of The Walt Disney Co.(DIS) moved modestly higher in premarket, as Irma moved across into 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.

Tesla Inc.(TSLA) rose 1.5% in premarket. The electric-car maker sent out a free software update (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-boosts-range-for-some-vehicles-in-florida-to-escape-irma-2017-09-10) temporarily extending the battery life for some of its cars in order to help owners evacuate the looming Irma storm.

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 continued to press higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-bounce-up-as-appetite-for-risk-returns-2017-09-11), led by gains for insurers as Hurricane Irma lessened in severity.

The ICE Dollar Index inched up to 91.43, led by gains for the greenback against the yen , which rose to Yen108.38 from Yen107.84 late Friday. Gold , another haven asset, fell $8.30, or 0.6%, to $1,342.90 an ounce.

Oil prices were mixed, with WTI crude up 0.5%, to $47.72 a barrel. Brent crude was off 0.2% to $53.66 a barrel.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 11, 2017 06:21 ET (10:21 GMT)