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Lingering concerns over North Korea kept a lid on U.S. stock futures early Wednesday, as “potentially catastrophic” Hurricane Irma headed for American shores, also dampening the investing mood.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMU7, +0.29% were up 19 points at 21,783, while S&P 500 index futures ESU7, +0.20% climbed 2.55 points to 2,462. Nasdaq-100 index futures NQU7, +0.26% rose 14.50 points to 5,954.75.
U.S. stocks closed lower on Tuesday, as investors focused on heightened geopolitical tensions after North Korea said it had successfully tested its biggest-ever nuclear bomb. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.76% snapped a six-day winning run, closing 0.8% lower, while the Dow average DJIA, -1.07% finished down 1.1% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.93% dropped 0.9%.
“There is clear concern about the escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea which has culminated in repeated stints of risk-off trading in recent weeks,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note.
“With the increasingly frequent tests in North Korea triggering such moves, it’s making traders a little more anxious than normal and it seems that for now, sitting on the sidelines is preferred,” he said.
North Korea is feared to be preparing to launch a new intercontinental ballistic missile as soon as Saturday, when the isolated country celebrates its founding day.
Adding to the downbeat tone was Hurricane Irma, which was barreling toward U.S. territory in the Caribbean and potentially Florida, where a state of emergency has been declared. Irma was Tuesday upgraded to a Category 5 storm as it gathered strength in the Atlantic Ocean. On Wednesday morning, it made landfall in the Caribbean, with the eye passing over Barbuda.
Cruise operators have been forced to cancel or reroute sailings as Irma heads toward popular Caribbean destinations. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. NCLH, -3.16% has canceled trips, while Carnival Corp. CCL, -3.12% has revised the itineraries of four ships. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. RCL, -4.19% is evaluating five sailings. Shares of Carnival were down 0.5% before the bell, while Norwegian rose 0.5%.
Another tropical storm, Jose, is gathering strength in the Atlantic and may shape up as another hurricane. The weather threats come after Hurricane Harvey caused flooding and devastation in Texas, forcing the closure of oil refineries.
Economic news: A report on the foreign trade deficit for July is slated for release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, followed by the Markit services purchasing managers index for August at 9:45 a.m. Eastern.
The ISM nonmanufacturing index is due for release at 10 a.m. Eastern, while the Federal Reserve beige book is on the docket for 2 p.m.
Stock movers: U.S.-listed shares of Trivago NV TRVG, -3.74% plunged 21% before the open after the German hotel search platform cut its guidance, saying earnings for the third quarter and full year would be lower than previously expected.
Voyager Therapeutics Inc. VYGR, +9.74% soared 47% in premarket trade after the drugmaker announced positive trial results for a treatment for advanced Parkinson’s disease.