US Markets

Futures lower in risk-off trade; gold jumps

U.S. stock index futures indicated a lower open Tuesday as oil held mostly lower and traders piled into safe-haven assets.

Dow futures were down more than 100 points, while S&P and Nasdaq futures also indicated a sharply lower open. U.S. oil prices were down 0.2 percent a day after shedding nearly 3 percent.

European markets were also on the back foot with oil stocks and basic resources companies the worst performers. Asia markets were also mostly lower overnight, with the Japanese Nikkei 225 falling 2.4 percent.

The yen traded near its strongest level against the U.S. dollar since October 2014. The U.S. dollar index traded slightly higher, with the euro near $1.138 as of 8:35 a.m. ET. Gold jumped more than 1 percent.

Commodity prices have led to volatility in equity markets in recent months and oil came under renewed pressure on Tuesday morning. Reuters cited weakening demand for gasoline and concerns of a global crude glut for the slump. Traders also reacted to comments from Kuwait's OPEC governor Nawal Al-Fuzaia who spoke of the prospect of a freeze in output for the oil cartel.

Charles Evans, president of Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Fed's Evans says needs to be aggressive to get up to inflation targets

Back in the U.S, investors will be monitoring earnings from Pershing Square Holdings and a slew of data.

The U.S. trade deficit widened more than expected in February, increasing 2.6 percent to $47.1 billion, Reuters said. January's trade deficit was revised slightly up to $45.9 billion from the previously reported $45.7 billion.

Treasury yield held lower, with the 2-year yield near 0.72 percent and the 10-year yield at 1.73 percent.

Markit services PMI is due at 9:45 a.m. ET and ISM services and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary report are due at 10 a.m. ET.

On Monday, U.S. stocks closed lower as pressure from a decline in oil prices mostly offset gains in health care stocks. Also on Monday, Federal Open Market Committee voting member Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said he believed it will likely be appropriate to resume the path of gradual tightening sooner than is implied by financial market futures. He added the "U.S. has weathered foreign shocks quite well" and that risks from abroad are easing.

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There was more Fed comment on Tuesday with Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speaking in Hong Kong. he said the U.S. central bank had to be proactive and aggressive to reach the central bank's inflation targets, according to Reuters.