Wall Street Steady Pre-Bell; Futures Even, Europe Up

Wall Street pre-market Wednesday is steady, with US stock-index futures pointing to an opening bell largely unchanged from Tuesday’s close. European bourses are trading mildly higher, and Asian exchanges closed choppily on trade concerns. China reported a near-record $28.9 billion trade surplus in July with the US. The US will impose a 25% tariff on another $16 billion worth of Chinese goods starting August 23. Tesla (TSLA) may go private at $420 a share, said founder Elon Musk, citing Wall Street pressures. Bitcoin trades for $6,490, oil trades for $69.02 and 10-year US Treasuries offer 2.97%.

On the economic calendar at 7 am ET is the weekly MBA mortgage applications release, and then the much-watched EIA domestic oil inventories bulletin at 10:30 am.

For Federal Reserve-watchers, Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin speaks at 8:45 am.

Autohome (ATHM), Cars.com (CARS), CVS Health (CVS), Colony Capital (CLNY), Michael Kors (KORS), Lamar Advertising (LAMR), Magan International (MGA), New York Times (NYT), Sinclair Broadcast (SBGI) and Thomson Reuters (TRI) report earnings pre-bell, among others.

In Europe, the British FTSE 100 is up 0.88%, the French CAC 40 is up 0.09% and the German DAX is up 0.18%.

In the futures, the S&P 500 is up 0.02%, the Nasdaq is off 0.02% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.02%.

Asian stocks were choppy Wednesday after Wall Street closed higher, but trade-concerns darkened prospects. Shanghai fell back, Tokyo traded evenly and Hong Kong posted a gain. Other regional exchangers were also mixed, although in Mumbai fresh all-time stock-market highs were struck

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 finished marginally lower, off 0.08%, as ongoing trade tensions and a stronger yen offset positive overnight cues from Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 18.43 to 22,644.31, as losing issues outnumbered gainer 133 to 87.

Leading the upside on a down day were camera-house Nikon (NINOY, 7731:Tokyo ), up 9.4%, followed by components-maker Furukawa (FUWAY, 5801:Tokyo) up 5.3%, and then internet-finance combine Softbank (SFTBY, 9984:Tokyo) up 4.8%, still rallying on earnings reported earlier in the week and on possible spin-off news.

On the downside were confectioners Meiji (MEJHY, 2269:Tokyo), off 10.4%, and Tokai Carbon (TKCBY, 5301:Tokyo) down 7.44%

In economic news, sentiment in Japan’s service sector declined in July, the Cabinet Office reported. The monthly sentiment index fell 1.5 points from June to 46.6 in July, further below the 50-marker separating growth from decline. However, the low reading came after torrential rains pummeled western Japan.

In H1, Japan’s current account trade surplus was $97 billion, reported government officials.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index shook off regional trade worries, and gained 0.39% led by tech, energy and Macau gaming-houses.

The broad gauge Hang Seng rose 110.26 to 28,359.14, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 26 to 20.

Leading the upside were Macau casino-hotel Galaxy Entertainment (27:HK), up 4.5%, followed by PetroChina (857:HK), up 3.2%, and then internet-media giant and index heavyweight Tencent (700:HK), up 2.9%.

On the downside were diaper-maker Hengan International (1044:HK), off 3.0%, and developer China Overseas Land (680:HK), off 2.7%.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite retreated 1.27%.

On economic news, China’s July exports rose 12.2% year-over-year, topping expectations, Reuters reported. Imports rose 27.3%, also topping outlooks.

China’s closely watched surplus with the US declined to $28.09 billion in July from a record $28.97 billion in June.

On the other exchanges, the S. Korean Kospi inclined 0.06%; the Taiwan TWSE rose 0.84%; the Australian ASX 200 inclined 0.23%; the Singapore Straits Times Index lost 0.40%; and the Thai Set inclined 0.84%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was up 0.64%.