Slide in oil prices, jitters over prospect of U.S. tax plan help put U.S. stocks on course for more losses
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Dow futures tumbled more than 100 points on Wednesday, as falling oil prices and worries over the progress of a U.S. tax overhaul left investors increasingly averse to putting more money into perceived riskier assets such as equities, which have been on a record run.
Important economic updates are ahead, with consumer prices and retail sales numbers expected before the open.
What are the main benchmarks doing?
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slid 104 points, or 0.4%, to 23,271, while S&P 500 futures dropped 10.15 points, or 0.4%, to 2,567.755. Nasdaq-100 futures fell 19 points, or 0.3%, to 6,274.
Futures moves come after U.S. stocks finished modestly lower on Tuesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-sag-as-investors-fail-to-shake-fears-of-a-pullback-2017-11-14). The S&P 500 closed down 0.2% to 2,578.87, while the Dow dropped 0.1% to 23,409, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.3% to reach 6,737.87.
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What could drive markets?
A slide in oil prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-tumbles-further-in-wake-of-api-reading-showing-jump-in-us-supply-2017-11-15) again weighed on investor appetite for riskier assets. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 1.1%, to $55.10 a barrel after the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reported a surprising buildup in U.S. inventories of both crude oil and gasoline. The API data comes ahead of important Energy Information Administration data due at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time Wednesday.
Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expect the EIA to report declines of 1 million barrels each for crude and gasoline inventories, but investors are concerned the data could now surprise with buildups.
Crude prices were already under pressure Tuesday, with both WTI and Brent settling at their lowest levels since Nov. 3. The move lower came after the International Energy Agency cut its global crude-demand forecasts and warned of a boom for U.S. shale-oil production.
See Thomas Kee on: To make money in oil, listen to prices more than news (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/to-make-money-in-oil-listen-to-prices-more-than-news-2017-11-14)
Meanwhile, concerns over the progress of U.S. tax reform in Washington were lingering on Wednesday, after a report Tuesday that Republican senators are strongly considering adding a repeal of Obamacare's individual insurance mandate (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/senate-republicans-strongly-consider-adding-obamacare-mandate-repeal-to-tax-bill-report-2017-11-14) to a new version of their tax bill. That was pressuring stocks and the U.S. dollar.
U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will make a "major statement" now that he is back in Washington from his trip to Asia. At the start of the week, he said an announcement on trade and a wrap-up from his meetings on the trip would come Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-teases-trade-announcement-to-be-announced-wednesday-2017-11-12), but has since said, "Time and date to be set" in a post to Twitter (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/930320191699017730).
Read:Here's what happens if Obamacare mandate is repealed, as Senate is considering (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-happens-if-obamacare-mandate-is-repealed-as-senate-is-considering-2017-11-14)
What are strategists saying?
-- "I don't think there's any particular reason behind the moves, rather a few factors -- taxes, oil declines being among them -- that are combining to trigger some profit-taking on what has been a long and steady rally," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in emailed comments, of the fall for U.S. stock futures.
"U.S. indices have looked vulnerable to this for a couple of weeks, and while [I] don't anticipate a particularly large correction at this point, a small pullback would be healthy," said Erlam.
-- "The goal of adding the Obamacare repeal into the mix is to propose a financing solution for the major tax reforms, but of course the joint-proposal on two controversial subjects could also decrease their chances of success for passing the bill in the Congress," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at LCG.com, in a note to clients.
What economic data are coming?
Investors were bracing for a heavy lineup of economic updates. Readings on consumer prices and retail sales for October, as well as the Empire State manufacturing index for November, are all due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
Economists polled by MarketWatch are forecasting consumer prices to rise 0.1%, with core prices up 0.2%. Retail sales are seen coming in unchanged.
See:Why the yield curve may invert even if inflation picks up (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-the-yield-curve-may-invert-even-if-the-fed-sees-inflation-pick-up-2017-11-14)
Speaking in London early Wednesday, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said inflation has been too low for too long and the U.S. central bank has to alter its communications with the markets to convince investors the central bank is willing to let it run hotter than the 2% target (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-should-convince-markets-it-would-tolerate-inflation-at-25-evans-says-2017-11-15).
Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren will give a speech at Northeastern University's economic policy forum in Boston at 4:10 p.m. Eastern.
Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)
(http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)Which stocks look like key movers?
Shares of Boeing Co.(BA) could be active after the aircraft maker announced a deal to sell Dubai-based Flydubai up to 225 more of its 737 Max 8 planes at a list price value of $27 billion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/airbus-boeing-secure-multibillion-dollar-orders-2017-11-15). Meanwhile, rival Airbus SE secured one of the largest aircraft deals in history (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/airbus-lands-495-billion-jetliner-order-in-us-2017-11-15) with a 43-jet, $49.5 billion order.
Target Corp.(TGT) dropped more than 5% in premarket trading. The retailer's fiscal third-quarter profit and sales beat expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/target-beats-expectations-but-stock-falls-after-concerns-over-highly-competitive-sales-environment-2017-11-15), but the company offered a downbeat profit outlook for the current quarter and said it expected a "highly competitive" environment for holiday sales.
Cisco Systems Inc.(CSCO) is due to report after the close. Earnings preview: Amid changes, a chance to tell a cloud story (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cisco-earnings-amid-changes-a-chance-to-tell-a-cloud-story-2017-11-13)
Shares of SendGrid Inc.(SEND) are expected to begin trading on Wednesday morning on the New York Stock Exchange. The email-marketing company priced its initial public offering higher than expected and will offer more shares than originally planned (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sendgrid-prices-ipo-above-range-will-sell-more-shares-2017-11-14).
What are other assets doing?
West Texas Intermediate crude fell 55 cents, or 1.1%, to $55.11 a barrel, while Brent crude dropped 68 cents, or 1.1%, to $61.54 a barrel.
European stocks were headed towards a 7th-straight loss (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/commodity-rout-drives-european-stocks-toward-7th-straight-loss-2017-11-15) as falling oil prices drove major energy names lower. Asian markets closed sharply lower across the board (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikkei-faces-6th-straight-decline-as-asian-markets-pull-back-2017-11-14), also weighed by falling commodity prices. Gold futures are up $2.60 to $1,285.50 an ounce.
The ICE Dollar Index dropped 0.3% to 93.581, with the greenback falling chiefly against the yen (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-drops-as-fears-build-that-tax-reform-plans-will-drag-2017-11-15), in a sign that investors were feeling more risk-averse.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 15, 2017 08:08 ET (13:08 GMT)