Futures lower on Iran tensions, trade worries

Futures lower on Iran tensions, trade worries

(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures were pulled lower by Iran tensions and trade worries on Tuesday, with investors focusing on Federal Reserve officials for more clarity on interest rates.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

In a dramatic and unprecedented move, President Donald Trump on Monday imposed new sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader and foreign minister, a decision Tehran said closed the path to diplomacy between the countries.

Adding to investor nerves, a senior U.S. official said Trump is “comfortable with any outcome” from the talks with his Chinese counterpart at the G20 summit later this week.

“Amidst the recent displays of chest-thumping by both governments, all in the name of safeguarding national interests, markets are defaulting to a flight-to-safety mode, as they wait to find out what will actually transpire this weekend,” FXTM market analyst Han Tan said.

Investors will also closely monitor speeches by no less than five Fed policymakers later in the day, including Chair Jerome Powell.

The three main Wall Street indexes are up at least 7% this month, with the S&P 500 hitting a record high last week, spurred by hopes that the Fed would lower key lending rates to counter any economic slowdown caused by the tariff war between Washington and Beijing.

Traders fully expect a rate cut from the U.S. central bank in July and see a 40% possibility of a half-point move, CME Group’s FedWatch program showed.

At 6:58 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 29 points, or 0.11%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.5 points, or 0.15% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 19 points, or 0.24%.

Among stocks, AbbVie Inc said it would acquire Botox-maker Allergan Plc in a cash-and-stock deal for about $63 billion, sending its shares 10.1% lower. Shares of Allergan surged 28.5%.

Lennar Corp rose 4.1% after the No. 2 U.S. homebuilder reported a 35.8% rise in quarterly profit, selling more as mortgage rates fell.

FedEx Corp edged 0.6% lower as the U.S. parcel delivery firm sued the U.S. government, saying it should not be held liable if it inadvertently shipped products that violated a Trump administration ban on exports to some Chinese companies.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department is expected to announce that new home sales rose to 680,000 units in May from 673,000 a month earlier.

Separately, the Conference Board is expected to report consumer confidence fell to a reading of 131.2 in June from 134.1 in May. Both sets of data are due at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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