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US Stock Futures Point To Higher Open As OPEC Meets

30.11.16 12:45

WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - U.S. stocks are likely to open a tad higher on Wednesday as oil prices rebounded sharply on hopes for an OPEC deal.

Benchmark U.S. crude futures added almost 7 percent to $48.24 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after Iran's oil minister expressed optimism that OPEC ministers would clinch an oil production deal when they meet in Vienna at 0900 GMT.

Besides the OPEC meeting, investors also keep an eye on a slew of U.S. economic data, including private sector employment, personal income and spending, pending home sales and the Fed's Beige Book survey for further clues on the path of interest rate increases this year and next.

The dollar pushed higher on the back of upbeat data released overnight while gold prices remain on track for their biggest monthly decline since June 2013, feeling the pressure from an imminent hike in U.S. interest rates.

Sounding more upbeat on the economic outlook, Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell on Tuesday suggested that the case for a rate hike has "clearly strengthened" since the Fed's previous meeting earlier this month.

Most economists expect the Fed to move borrowing costs higher by a quarter percentage point when officials hold their final meeting of the year on December 13-14.

In corporate news, chipmaker Intel Corp has created a new division called Automated Driving Group, headed by Doug Davis, to design the next generation of advanced driver assist systems and autonomous driving solutions.

Shares of Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals plummeted 60 percent in the extended session Tuesday after the company announced that it is dropping development of its three leading compounds to fight liver diseases.

Elsewhere, Asian stocks closed mostly higher today as better-than-expected U.S. GDP data and a weak yen helped offset investor skepticism over whether OPEC can deliver a much-anticipated production cut.

Chinese shares bucked the uptrend, with the Shanghai Composite losing 1 percent on worries about liquidity and increased regulation as Beijing steps up efforts to support a sliding yuan.

European shares eked out modest gains to hit a three-week high, as upbeat German data and the rebound in oil prices helped investors keep aside all worries over the impact of a 'no' vote in the upcoming Italian constitutional referendum.

While German retail sales rose at their fastest pace in more than five years in October, the country's unemployment rate declined slightly in November, separate reports showed.

Back home, U.S. stocks inched up marginally on Tuesday as a rally in the healthcare sector offset declines among energy shares. The Dow and the S&P 500 rose about 0.1 percent each while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.2 percent.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX


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