Wall Street stocks set for higher open as oil surges

Stock futures pointed to a moderately higher start for Wall Street Monday, as higher oil prices whetted appetite for riskier investments despite a fall in Chinese equities.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 44 points, or 0.3%, to 17,715, while S&P 500 futures were up 5.05 points, or 0.3%, to 2,057.75. Nasdaq-100 futures added 12.50 points, or 0.3%, to 4,341.

Stocks finished higher on Friday after a weaker-than-expected gain in nonfarm payrolls sparked speculation that the Federal Reserve wouldn’t be in a hurry to raise interest rates. But stocks still booked their second weekly decline in a row.

European stocks mirrored gains for U.S. stock futures Monday, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index rising more than 1%.

“It’s a confusing session today, given the price action in China and data still being weak out of Asia,” said Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, in emailed comments. He was referring to a sharp drop in Chinese stocks after downbeat trade data and indications that officials are expecting slower growth for the economy.

Oil prices were providing some support for stock markets on a combination of factors. Crude rose 68 cents, or 1.5%, to $45.34 a barrel after China trade data showed soaring oil imports.

The weekend dismissal of Saudi Arabia’s powerful energy minister, Ali al-Naimi, also provided some flight-to-safety gains for crude, given the uncertainty over the country’s energy policy. Al-Naimi will be replaced by Khalid-al Falih, the chairman of the country’s state oil company, Saudi Aramco.

Fed speakers ahead: Several Federal Reserve speakers are expected to grab the spotlight, in a day devoid of top-tier U.S. economic data.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said a stronger labor market is underpinning growth prospects, at a panel at the International Financial Services forum in London earlier. “The most important fundamental is the improvement of labor prospects. The U.S. labor market has been strong for quite some time,” he said.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari is slated to give a speech to the Economic Club of Minnesota luncheon at 1 p.m. Eastern.

San Francisco Fed President John Williams was expected to answer questions in a session on Quora — a question-and-answer website — at 6 p.m. Eastern.

LendingClub Corp fell 15%, after the online lender said Chief Executive Officer Renaud Laplanche is resigning after a review of sales of $22 million in near-prime loans. The company named President Scott Sanborn as acting CEO as it posted adjusted earnings that fell short of expectations.

Sotheby’s posted a wider-than-expected loss, though shares were inactive in premarket.

Tyson Foods Inc. is due to report Monday.

Walt Disney Co. could be active after “Captain America: Civil War” swelled to a $181.8 million opening in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend, for the fifth-highest debut in box-office history.

China stocks drop, dollar rises: The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled on concerns over the economy on Monday, closing down 2.8%.

A report in the People’s Daily newspaper, viewed as the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, reported that the China’s economy is headed for an “L-shaped” recovery, adding to concerns that growth in the world’s second-largest economy will moderate further.

While China’s oil imports were soaring, trade data showed exports unexpectedly fell in April, and imports dropped by a sharper-than-expected 10.9% from a year earlier.

The dollar pushed higher against the yen on the view that the modest rise in U.S. wage inflation will keep the Fed on course for interest-rate hikes. A stronger dollar put gold prices under pressure, while copper fell on weak China data.

Source: MarketWatch