MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stock Futures Fall After North Korean Nuclear Bomb Threat

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Apple slips and remains on track for worst week ahead of an iPhone launch

Continue Reading Below

U.S. stock futures pointed to opening losses for Wall Street on Friday, as geopolitical tensions returned to the fore after North Korea threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

Traders were also looking ahead to a trio of Federal Reserve speakers, searching for more details on monetary policy after the central bank's meeting earlier this week.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 27 points, or 0.1%, to 22,306, while those for the S&P 500 index gave up 4.15 points, or 0.2%, to 2,496.75. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index fell 16 points, or 0.3%, to 5,928.75.

"Trump's somewhat provocative language over North Korea at the UN this week (talk of 'destroying' another country is never great, really) were only ever likely to bring about the next step up in geopolitical tensions," said Richard Perry, market analyst at Hantec Markets, in a note.

"With geopolitical tensions rising again, safe haven assets are performing better, with the yen and gold rebounding, whilst Treasury yields have started to drop away again. Equities are also seeing some corrective pressure," he added.

Continue Reading Below

North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said late Thursday at a United Nations meeting that his country might consider a nuclear bomb of "unprecedented scale" in the Pacific, although he said he did not know leader Kim Jong Un's exact thoughts.

Ri's comments came shortly after Kim released a statement threatening to make President Donald Trump "pay dearly" for his fiery speech to the U.N. on Tuesday, calling the U.S. leader a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard." (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/kim-jong-un-calls-trump-mentally-deranged-us-dotard-setting-off-scramble-for-dictionaries-2017-09-21)

The harsh comments came after Trump at a UN speech on Tuesday pledged to "totally destroy" North Korea if Pyongyang provoked the U.S. or its allies. Trump on Thursday ordered expanded sanctions against North Korea, targeting individuals or companies trading with the country.

Asia markets closed mostly lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-rattled-by-latest-north-korean-nuclear-threat-2017-09-21) after the aggression from North Korea, while European wavered between small gains and losses (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-shaken-by-north-korea-but-strong-pmis-keep-losses-in-check-2017-09-22).

Gold prices were up 0.3%, while the yen rallied against the dollar . The greenback bought Yen111.98, down from Yen112.48 late Thursday in New York.

The ICE Dollar Index dropped 0.4% to 91.879, set to erase its weekly gain. The dollar gauge on Wednesday jumped the most since January, according to FactSet data, after the Federal Reserve hinted interest rates will rise again in December.

Oil prices were flat ahead of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-cartel members in Vienna where delegates will discuss the possibility of extending production cuts.

Fed speakers: With the new signals from the central banks, traders are eager to hear from a trio of Fed speakers on Friday.

At 6 a.m. Eastern Time, San Francisco Fed President John Williams will speak at the Swiss National Bank Research Conference in Zurich.

At 9:30 a.m. Eastern, Kansas City President Esther George will deliver a keynote at an oil conference in Oklahoma City. Dallas Fed boss Robert Kaplan will participate in a Q&A at the same conference at 1:30 p.m.

In other economic news, the Markit manufacturing and services purchasing managers index for September is due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern.

Stock movers: Shares of Versartis Inc.(VSAR) sank 83% ahead of the bell after the biopharmaceutical company late Thursday said its drug somavaratan failed to meet its primary endpoint in a phase 3 trial (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/versartis-shares-halted-2017-09-21).

Apple Inc.(AAPL) shares were down 0.5% in premarket trade. The stock is on track for the worst week ahead of an iPhone launch (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-stock-on-track-for-worst-week-ahead-of-an-iphone-launch-2017-09-21) since the original iPhone was released back in 2007. The lackluster performance comes after less-than-stellar reviews on its new slate of product offerings.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 22, 2017 05:55 ET (09:55 GMT)