Futures Set To Open Higher With China PMI In Focus

  1. China’s manufacturing bounces back

U.S. stock index futures are set to open higher open on Monday after a private business survey showed that Chinese manufacturing sector returned to growth during the month of March. The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) jumped to 50.8, its fastest pace in eight months and a sign that Beijing’s stimulus measures may be slowly taking hold.

At around 6:13 a.m. ET, futures on the blue-chip Dow pointed to a gain of 196.0 points, or 0.76% to 26,129.0. Futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 jumped 73.00 points, or 0.99% to 7,473.50 while those on the S&P 500 were up 19.87 points, or around 0.70%, to 2,857.62.

Asian stock markets recorded big gains, with China’s Shanghai Composite closing 2% higher. European shares were also up in mid-morning trade, with Germany’s DAX up about 1%.

  1. U.S. retail sales report out today

The U.S. Department of Commerce will publish data on retail sales for the month of February at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect the report to show that retail sales jumped 0.2% after staging a modest rebound in January.

Wall Street will be watching to see whether solid fundamentals such as rising incomes and a historically low unemployment rate helped push spending in February. Sales excluding the auto sector are expected to have inched up 0.4%. The U.S. dollar index was down 0.2% at 96.64 on Monday morning.

  1. Trump attacks Federal Reserve over rate hikes

President Donald Trump on Friday blasted Federal Reserve officials for a “ridiculously timed quantitative tightening” and for “mistakenly’’ hiking interest rates. The President believes that the economy would have grown at a much faster rate in 2018 and stocks would be higher if not for the central bank.

“Had the Fed not mistakenly raised interest rates, especially since there is very little inflation, and had they not done the ridiculously timed quantitative tightening, the 3.0% GDP, & Stock Market, would have both been much higher & World Markets would be in a better place,” Trump tweeted.

Before the President tweeted, White House senior economic adviser Larry Kudlow also called on the policymakers to cut interest rates by a half percentage point. The Jerome Powell-led Federal Reserve has responded to inflation and slowing growth by cancelling plans to hike borrowing rates at all in 2019.

  1. Mark Zuckerberg calls for new internet rules

Facebook Inc.  CEO Mark Zuckerberg is calling for more oversight and regulation of internet companies. In an op-ed Saturday in the Washington Post and Irish Independent, Zuckerberg called on U.S. regulators to create clearer rules on harmful content, data portability, election integrity, and privacy.

The 34-year-old billionaire also backed European-style privacy regulations for the U.S., even as his social media company struggles to defuse criticism for failing to protect user protect user privacy and adequately police content on its platform. Facebook stock, which ended Friday’s regular session at $166.59, was up slightly in pre-market trading on Monday.