Stock futures declined on Friday, Sept. 22, after the North Korea threat returned to drag equities lower.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 0.14%, S&P 500 futures fell 0.22%, and Nasdaq futures slid 0.35%.
North Korea's foreign minister reportedly said his country may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean to fulfill Kim Jong Un's vow to take the "highest-level" action against the United States, the Associated Press reported. Kim, in a statement, said Donald Trump is "unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country." He also described the U.S. president as "a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire."
A day earlier, President Donald Trump announced that new sanctions have been levied against North Korea. A new executive order would allow the federal government to issue punitive measures against individuals, banks and other companies that trade with the country, he said.
"Foreign banks will face a clear choice: do business with the United States or facilitate trade with the lawless regime in North Korea," Trump said on Thursday. "The regime can no longer count on others to facilitate its trade and banking activities."
Friday looks to be the second down day in a two for markets. A sharp selloff in tech stocks and a hawkish Federal Reserve teamed up on Thursday to drag markets from recent record highs. The Dow snapped a seven-day record-breaking streak, while the S&P 500 failed to end at all-time highs for the first day in four. After the long-awaited Fed meeting, markets appeared to struggle to find direction. The next expected catalyst, earnings season, isn't expected to kick off in earnest until October.
Following the Fed's move to begin unwinding its massive balance sheet, three Fed officials will be making the rounds on Friday. San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams will be in Zurich, while Kansas City Fed President Esther George and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan will speak at an oil conference in Oklahoma City.
It's a quiet day on the economic calendar Friday with just a flash reading on PMI for September out shortly after the opening bell.
Crude oil prices were slightly lower ahead of a weekly reading on drilling activity in the U.S. The weekly Baker Hughes rig count will be released as normal at 1 p.m. ET. Baker Hughes reported a total 749 active oil rigs in the U.S. in the week ended Sept. 15, up seven from a week earlier.
West Texas Intermediate crude was down 0.2% at $50.42 a barrel on Friday.
Shares of Sprint Corp. (S) and T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS) rose in premarket trading on reports the two are closer to sealing a deal. The telecoms are close to agreeing on initial terms for a merger agreement that could close as soon as the end of October, insiders told Reuters. Sprint's Japanese parent company, SoftBank Group Corp. (SFTBF) , would own between 40% and 50% of the combined firm, while T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom AG (DTEGY) would hold a majority stake.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE) plans to cut about 10% of its staff, or at least 5,000 workers, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The cuts, part of an effort to pare expenses as competition increases, are expected to start before the end of the year, the people told Bloomberg. Reductions are likely to affect workers in the U.S. and abroad, including managers, according to the Bloomberg report. HPE has about 50,000 workers. Shares were more than 1% lower on Friday morning.
Tech stocks were lower again on Friday morning. Apple Inc. (AAPL) fell more than 1%, while Micron Technology Inc. (MU) , Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) and Facebook Inc. (FB) also declined. The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) slipped 0.2%.
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Updated from 7:41 a.m. ET, Friday, Sept. 22.
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