U.S. stock futures shoot higher as North Korea tensions ebb

By Wayne Cole

The KBW Nasdaq Insurance index rose 1.8%, almost wiping out its 1.9% drop last week.

"The fear that the hurricane was going to be this massive disaster has receded".

Meanwhile, concerns about Hurricane Irma's impact on the USA economy decreased. The S&P 500 dropped 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.6 percent while the Dow inched up 0.1 percent. Irma was a Category 5 storm when it battered Cuba but weakened to Category 1 after hitting Florida. The threshold for a storm to become a hurricane is 74 miles per hour. Irma has left at least 4 million residents without power.

It is too soon to predict when the Federal Reserve should next raise USA interest rates as it continues to tighten policy, given "cross currents" in the economy and markets, New York Fed President William Dudley had said on CNBC TV on Friday.

The U.S. and its allies had been bracing for another long-range missile launch to mark for the 69th anniversary of North Korea's founding on Saturday. The trade-weighted index fell to 75.17 from 75.59 in NY.

Still, tensions may return with a U.N. Security Council vote due Monday that calls for further and tougher sanctions on the isolated nation.

The risk on sentiment will likely see the Euro remain on the back foot through the remainder of the day, which could see the Euro give up $1.20 levels early in the session, with the only consideration for the day being any possible friction between the North Korean's and the U.S, though a war of words is more palatable than actual missile or nuclear tests, as far as the markets are concerned.

If the USA does "rig up the illegal and unlawful "resolution" on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure the USA pays due price", said North Korea's foreign ministry via a statement published by the official KCNA news agency, according to AFP (https://www.yahoo.com/news/north-korea-warns-us-greatest-pain-over-fresh-201000211.html).

While it's a quiet start to the week on the economic calendar, there are certainly some key stats due out this week from both sides of the Pond, with United Kingdom and U.S retail sales and inflation figures due out later in the week.

Teva jumped 19 per cent after the generic drugmaker named a new chief executive. European insurers were also gaining on Monday, amid some signs Irma's impact may be less than expected.

At the time of the report, the Dollar was up 0.65% against the Yen at ¥108.543, as market risk aversion abated, not only on the lack of noise from North Korea, but also on news of Hurricane Irma being downgraded having made landfall over the weekend, damaging parts of Florida.

Shares of The Walt Disney Co.(DIS) moved modestly higher in premarket, as Irma moved across into Orlando. Orlando hotels were reportedly full of storm evacuees.

So far in 2017, the S&P 500 has risen 10 per cent.

In Asia on Monday, the Japanese Nikkei 225 index is up 1.3%.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, gained 0.38 percent at 91.697.

Gold stocks, however, took a thumping, as Alamos Gold lost $1.70, or 16.6%, to $8.55, while Kinross Gold shed 20 cents, or 3.3%, to $5.66.

Weakness in iron ore and nickel prices pushed mining stocks lower, with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, South32 and Fortescue Metals Group losing 1-2 percent. Brent crude was off 0.4% to $53.59 a barrel.

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