Futures Point To Lower Open Ahead Of Existing Home Sales Data


Stock index futures set for lower open

U.S. stock index futures point to a lower open on Monday as markets re-open following the long Easter weekend. Several companies are expected to publish earnings reports today. Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) and oilfield services provider Halliburton Co (NYSE: HAL) will announce before the opening bell, while Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR) reports after the closing bell.

At 6:02 a.m. ET, futures on the blue-chip Dow were down 62 points, or 0.23% to 26,504.00. Futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq declined 22.62 points, or 0.29% to 7,689.88 while those on the S&P 500 pointed to a loss of 7.62 points, or 0.26% to 2,902.38.

Existing home sales data release

On the data front, the National Association of Realtors is expected to release existing home sales data for March at 10:00 a.m. ET. Economists expect sales of previously owned homes dropped 3.8% in March from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.3 million, according to figures compiled by the Wall Street Journal.

Existing home sales jumped 11.8% in February, signaling that demand for housing increased as mortgage rates decreased. Accelerating wages also helped improve affordability of previously occupied homes in February.

Crude prices rally on U.S. plan to remove Iran sanction waivers

Oil markets rallied early on Monday, driven up by a Reuters report that Washington will announce that all imports of Iranian oil need to end soon or be subject to sanctions. Reuters said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will announce that from May 2, the U.S. will no longer grant sanctions waivers to nations that are currently buying Iranian oil.

Eight countries that buy Iranian crude had been granted a 180-day waiver by the Trump administration despite sanctions. The countries were required to continue importing from Iran on condition that they move toward cutting those imports and ultimately stop buying.

Among the countries expected to be affected by the move include Turkey, China, and India. They are among the biggest customers of Iranian oil and had been expecting fresh waivers from the U.S. At 6:42 a.m. ET, Brent crude futures were up 2.43% to $73.72 a barrel, while U.S. crude oil futures climbed around 2.25% to $65.51 a barrel.

Tesla investigating Model S explosion in Shanghai

Electric vehicle giant Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) says it is investigating a video making rounds on social media sites in China that appears to show a Model S erupting into flames in Shanghai.

The clip shows smoke rising from what appears to be a white Tesla Model S parked at a lot. Moments later, the car bursts into flames and the video ends soon afterward.

Shares of California-based Tesla were down 2.36% to 266.81 in premarket trading Monday. The company is scheduled to release its first-quarter results on Wednesday, April 24.