The major U.S. index
futures are pointing to a lower opening on Monday, with sentiment reflecting
the aggravation of risk aversion, as China-turmoil hits the markets.
Commodities are rallying as geopolitical worries surrounding the Iran-Saudi
Arabian conflict drove up prices, especially of oil, which is moderately higher
after ending 2015 with over a 31 percent loss. The dollar is firmer except against
commodity currencies. The near 7 percent sell-off in China earlier in the day
could lead the U.S. markets to an extremely negative start to the year. Traders
may also pay attention to two separate U.S. manufacturing readings due shortly
after the markets open.
U.S. stocks ended the last week of the year 2015 on a down note, capping
off a year of volatility engendered by Fed rate hike fears and the precipitous
slump of commodities, spearheaded by oil.
Last Monday, the major averages came under pressure, as lower commodity prices
served as a drag. Nevertheless, the averages recovered from their early slump
and ended modest lower. Helped by a stalling in the retreat of oil prices and a
positive U.S. consumer confidence reading, the averages rebounded on
Tuesday, ending notably higher.
Weak pending home sales data and oil’s retreat pulled the major averages
moderately lower on Wednesday. Notwithstanding a rebound by oil prices, stocks
retreated notably on Thursday amid light volumes ahead of the extended weekend.
For the week ended December 31st, the Dow Industrials lost 0.72 percent,
while the S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite lost about
0.80 percent each.
The Dow, at 17,425, ended down 2.23 percent for the year and 4.85
percent off its record closing high of 18,312. The S&P 500 Index was
also in the red for the year, closing 0.73 percent lower at 2,044, down 4
percent from an all time closing high of 2,129. The Nasdaq Composite ended
at 5,007, up 5.73 percent for the year but down 4.05 percent from its record
closing high of 5,219.
Among the sectors, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index fell 4.76 percent for
the week andthe NYSE Arca Oil & Gas Index, the Philadelphia
Semiconductor Index and the NYSE Arca Airline Index all lost over 3