Wall Street looked set to open lower on Tuesday as weak trade data out of China reignited fears of a global economic slowdown and oil prices continued to slide, Reuters reports. Data showed China’s imports fell for the 13th consecutive month, with an 8.7 percent decline in November compared with a year earlier.
Oil prices resumed their slide, with U.S. crude falling below $37 per barrel for the first time since early 2009, amid fears the world was running out of capacity to store crude as a global glut intensifies. [O/R] Oil majors Exxon (XOM.N) and Chevron (CVX.N) were down about 2 percent in premarket trading, while miner Freeport McMoRan (FCX.N) fell 3.2 percent.
“The fall in oil prices suggests weak demand globally and has worried investors as they put together their outlook for the coming year,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were down 21.5 points, or 1.03 percent, with 217,453 contracts traded at 8:37 a.m. ET. Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were down 50.25 points, or 1.07 percent, on volume of 37,457 contracts. Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were down 175 points, or 0.99 percent, with 27,092 contracts changing hands.
Investors are awaiting the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting on Dec. 15-16, when the central bank is expected to raise interest rates for the first time since June 2006. “The Fed is still leaning heavily towards a rate hike but it’s not a done deal as yet,” Brown said, adding that the central bank will reintroduce uncertainties if it fails to raise rates next week.
Federal funds futures contracts FFcm1 imply an 80 percent chance that the Fed will end seven years of near-zero interest rates. U.S. stocks fell on Monday, led by the S&P energy index’s biggest one-day percentage drop since late August. Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG.N) shares fell 5.6 percent to $521 after 30 Boston College students fell ill after eating at the company’s restaurant over the weekend.
Fairchild Semiconductor (FCS.O) jumped 8.8 percent to $21.24 after the chipmaker said it received an unsolicited proposal to buy the company for about $2.46 billion. Netflix (NFLX.O) was down 3 percent at $121.60.