US Markets

US stocks set to end bad quarter on strong note


Wall Street shares were expected to open with solid gains on Wednesday, bolstered by a strong performance in Asian and European markets.

Dow Jones industrial average futures were more than 160 points higher, while European markets traded more than 2 percent higher. Asian stocks closed broadly higher, with Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index rallying 2.70 percent.

Oil traded mildly lower, while copper led most metals higher. Glencore continued to recover with a gain of more than 11 percent.

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Still, after a quarter which has seen the S&P 500 tumble more than 8 percent, sentiment was expected to remain vulnerable to worries about China's slowing economy, a rout in commodity prices and uncertainty about the timing of U.S. interest rate hikes.

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"Given the volatility seen in the past couple of months there is a feeling that something may have changed with the slow slide in commodity prices since the peaks of 2011, starting to sow some significant seeds of concern, about where the next catalyst for a move higher will come from," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, in a note.

Analysts at Barclays said global stock markets were closing in on their worst quarter since 2011.

Treasury yields held higher, with the 10-year at 2.08 percent and the 2-year at 0.67 percent.

The U.S. dollar traded higher against major world currencies, with the euro below $1.12 and the yen at 120.17 yen against the greenback.

Ahead of Friday's key nonfarm payrolls data, the September ADP Employment report showed private companies added 200,000 jobs.

The September Chicago purchasing managers index is due at 9:45 a.m. ET.

Weekly mortgage applications fell 6.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending September 25, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is expected to give the opening remarks at a Community Banking Research and Policy Conference at 3 p.m. ET in St. Louis, Missouri. Last week the Fed chief suggested that the central bank was still likely to lift interest rates before year-end.

St Louis Fed President James Bullard, New York Fed President Bill Dudley and Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard are also scheduled to speak later in the day.

Developments in Washington could fall under the spotlight since the Federal Government runs out of money at midnight – unless Congress and the President approve a new budget or a continuing resolution.

Failure to reach an agreement will result in a government shutdown.

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"The likelihood is that there will not be a government shutdown, which will bring relief," Colleen Graffy, Chairman, Society of English and American Lawyers told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" on Wednesday.

"But they do want to look at talks that would carry through over two years that prevent any discussion over the budget during this election cycle," she said.

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