Stock Futures Cautiously Higher Amid Syria Attack Speculation
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a higher U.S. market open though remain around multi-week lows after two days of selloffs driven by fears over escalating tensions with Syria.
Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 1.25 points, or 1.37 points above fair value, to 1,629.5. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 14 points, or 16.87 points above fair value, to 14,772. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 5 points, or 5.92 points above fair value, to 3,064.5.
The S&P 500 posted its largest drop since June 20 on Tuesday as stocks tumbled on reports the U.S. may spearhead a multi-country military intervention against Syria this week in response to evidence of chemical weapons.
Paul Donovan, a London-based global economist at UBS, downplayed some of the worries about the conflict with Syria.
"Syria could impact the global economy through 1) direct impact on oil supply, 2) contagion creating instability in other economies in the region, 3) an increase in global terrorism risk," Donovan said in a note. "Of these, only the second option is a threat, and it seems a fairly muted economic threat."
Both gold and oil futures were calmer Wednesday after surging the prior session amid the departure to safety assets and concerns that escalating tensions with Syria could lead to oil supply disruptions. December gold futures were rising $6.70 to $1,426.90 an ounce, remaining at multi-month highs. October crude oil futures were spiking by $1.42 to $110.43 a barrel and were sitting at two-year highs.
At 10 a.m. EDT, the National Association of Realtors is expected to say its pending home sales index fell 0.5% in July after declining 0.4% the prior month.
U.S. home loan applications declined for a third consecutive week in the week ended Aug. 24 on rising mortgage rates, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The association reported that its seasonally adjusted Mortgage Index reflecting home purchase and refinancing activity dipped 2.5% last week after falling 4.6% the week before. However, home purchase loan demand appeared to have risen, with the index registering a gain of 2.4%.
"There has been some softness in the recent U.S. housing data, but we would ascribe this as being more a function of supply problems than of a lack of demand (house prices continue to rise too, which is what the consumer cares about)," Donovan noted.