Wall Street set for lower open after China’s rate hike
NEW YORK: Wall Street was set for a lower open on Monday as shares fell globally following a surprise interest rate increase from China's central bank.
China's central bank raised interest rates on Saturday for the second time in just over two months as it stepped up its battle to rein in stubbornly high inflation. The People's Bank of China said it will raise the benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points to 5.81 percent and lift the benchmark deposit rate by 25 basis points to 2.75 percent.
Trading volumes, already light for the holiday season, are expected to be even lighter as a blizzard moved across the northeastern United States on Monday, disrupting air and rail travel and forcing motorists to deal with blowing snow and icy roads after the busy Christmas weekend.
"Volume usually picks up a bit after a long weekend but that is not going to be the case today with the snow storm... nobody can get into their offices in the Northeast and basically there is really lack of anything going on on Wall Street," said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
S&P 500 futures fell 5.4 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 40 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 7.5 points.
Despite the blizzard, the New York Stock Exchange was in normal operation.
"Everything is business as usual," an NYSE spokeswoman said. In Europe, stocks were down about one percent (.FTEU3) with thin volumes as UK markets remained closed, and as China's latest rate hike prompted investors to cash in a little portion of the strong gains made in December. -Reuters