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U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a higher open for Wall Street on Monday, as Hurricane Irma hit Florida with less force than expected and North Korea failed to conduct another nuclear missile test over the weekend, reviving investor appetite for riskier assets such as equities.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMZ7, +0.56% jumped 110 points, or 0.5%, to 21,888, while S&P 500 futures ESZ7, +0.51% rose 11.75 points, or 0.5%, to 2,472.75. Nasdaq-100 futures NQZ7, +0.73% gained 41.50 points, or 0.7%, to 5,965.75.
“The big news this morning has been that Hurricane Irma, while devastating, has not been as catastrophic as had been feared,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets. “Millions of homes lost power but not as many as had been widely thought and while damages are likely to run into the billions, they are not likely to run anywhere near the more extreme pre-storm estimates.”
U.S. stocks booked losses last week ahead of Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday. Among major indexes, the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.59% suffered the biggest drop, ending the week down 1.2%, while the Dow industrials DJIA, +0.06% fell 0.9% and the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.15% dropped 0.6%. At current levels, major indexes are less than 2 percentage points from all-time highs.
Irma was downgraded to a Category 1 storm early Monday after tearing a destructive path across South Florida on Sunday. The hurricane, due to be downgraded to a tropical storm, is expected to hit Tampa and Orlando early Monday and Tallahassee later in the afternoon. Irma has left at least 4 million residents without power.
Still, the storm was so far presenting less havoc than originally expected.
On Friday, William Dudley, the president of the New York Federal Reserve, said havoc wreaked by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could lift the U.S. economy in 2018, owing to the rebuilding that will be needed.
Meanwhile, investors may have gotten another break from easing geopolitical tensions. North Korea failed to conduct another missile test over the weekend, as some predicted might happen to mark the anniversary of the country’s founding.
Cieszynski said that the lack of “a missile test or any other provocations” fell into the “no news is good news file.”
Still, tensions may return with a U.N. Security Council vote due Monday that calls for further and tougher sanctions on the isolated nation. More saber rattling was heard out of North Korea on Monday over potentially harsher sanctions for the country after its sixth nuclear test.
If the U.S. does “rig up the illegal and unlawful ‘resolution’ on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure the U.S. pays due price,” said North Korea’s foreign ministry via a statement published by the official KCNA news agency, according to AFP.
There are no major economic data releases on the docket for Monday.
Stocks to watch: Shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. TEVA, +0.19% were up 12% in premarket. The Israeli drug company on Monday named Lundbeck’s Kare Schultz as its new chief executive.
Shares of insurer American International Group Inc. AIG, +2.59% rose 1.2%. European insurers were also gaining on Monday, amid some signs Irma’s impact may be less than expected.
Verisk Analytics Inc.’s catastrophe modeling business AIR Worldwide estimates insured losses resulting from Hurricane Irma will be in the range of $20 billion to $40 billion. That compares with AIR Worldwide’s estimate of property damage resulting from Hurricane Harvey of more than $65 billion.
Shares of The Walt Disney Co. DIS, +0.01% moved modestly higher in premarket, as Irma moved across into Orlando. In a rare move, Walt Disney World was closed Saturday to prepare for the storm, and is expected to remain closed until at least Tuesday. Orlando hotels were reportedly full of storm evacuees.
Tesla Inc. TSLA, -2.06% rose 1.5% in premarket. The electric-car maker sent out a free software update temporarily extending the battery life for some of its cars to help owners evacuate the looming Irma storm.
Other markets: Asian markets ADOW, +0.37% had a largely stronger day, keying off reduced fears over North Korea. The Nikkei 225 index NIK, +1.41% bounced back from its worst week in seven months to gain 1.4% as the Japanese yen, a traditional haven in times of geopolitical and economic stress, weakened.
The ICE Dollar Index DXY, +0.23% rose 0.2% to 91.47, led by gains for the greenback against the yen USDJPY, +0.84% which rose to ¥108.55 from ¥107.84 late Friday. Gold GCZ7, -1.01% another haven asset, fell $10.40, or 0.8%, to $1,340.70 an ounce.