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Wall Street fixed on Fed as oil hits 2009 low

2014-08-23T010045Z_2_LYNXMPEA7L0TG_RTROPTP_3_CBUSINESS-US-MARKETS-GLOBAL_original

U.S. stock index futures signaled a higher open on Tuesday, after U.S. crude futures slipped to levels not seen since 2009 ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting.

On Monday, U.S. crude futures for January delivery declined $1.90, or 3.3 percent, to close at $55.91, the lowest finish since May 2009.

Read More Market’s seasonal cheer on hold until oil finds footing

Brent also took a hammering, falling over $1 per barrel and below $60 for the first time since July 2009 in early European trading on Tuesday, as Chinese factory activity slowed and emerging market currencies stumbled.

Tuesday also brings the start of the Fed’s two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, with many market-watchers expecting the central bank to drop its pledge to hold interest rates low “for a considerable time”.

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Read More Gross: US structural growth rate to be about 2% or less

Star bond fund manager Bill Gross said he anticipates economic growth in the U.S. to fall to 2 percent next year as a result of the decline in the oil price.

Gross said it would be “very difficult” for oil prices to stabilize, adding that he was watching the move in oil, “quite a bit.”

“Oil determines currency movements; currency movements determine spread markets, risk markets, high yield markets, the potential for bankruptcy for not only companies but countries,” Gross said in an exclusive interview with CNBC.

Read More Oilslumps near $59 for first time since 2009

Other data expected on Tuesday includes new housing starts in November, which are expected to show only modest positive change in single-family starts, but multi-family activity could pick up from a lackluster reading in October.

“The bigger picture suggests that the pick-up in housing supply growth from the lows of earlier years appears to be progressing at a glacial pace,” said director of euro area economic research at Daiwa Capital Markets, Robert Kuenzel.

Meanwhile, the flash estimate of December’s manufacturing PMI is expected to see a modest rise to 55.2 in a modest turnaround after three consecutive monthly falls.

Read More Russiaraises key rate to 17%, effective Tuesday

European shares were lower in morning trade on Tuesday with a continued fall in the price of oil offsetting a modest rally in the banking sector.

Major earnings expected on Tuesday include FactSet (FDS) before market open, with Darden Restaurants (DRI) and Dave & Buster’s (PLAY) coming after market close.

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How to trade like the world’s biggest hedge fund

The rise of the ETF (it makes up 40% of exchange traded volume in the U.S.) has made it easier for the average investor to invest in large baskets of stocks whether by sector, country or any number of other groupings.

More and more, they’re being used by some of the biggest hedge funds as well.

Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

Tom Lydon of ETFTrends.com points out that “through 13F reporting on a quarterly basis, hedge funds have to disclose what their big holdings are.” That allows the average investor to peer into the decisions being made by those running “smart money.”

These big hedge fund managers are drawn to ETFs, Lydon says, because “the liquidity is fantastic. You can go in with… tens of millions – in some cases billions – of dollars into ETFs and spreads are very, very tight,” which makes the funds efficient for investors.

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Ray Dalio uses ETFs in his hedge fund just like the average Joe does. Here's how to use 13F statements to trade like him...if you want to

Ray Dalio uses ETFs in his hedge fund just like the average Joe does. Here’s how to use 13F statements to trade …

Case in point: Ray Dalio, chief of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates. The firm’s last two 13F filings reveal a move away from U.S. equities via the SPY ETF (from 28% of its holdings to 26.5%) and towards the emerging markets via a bigger investment in the EEM ETF (from 24.48% to 25.9%).Related: Investing in 2015: Why timing is everything

“That’s maybe a good idea,” Lydon says, “as the bull market here in the U.S. might be a little bit long in the tooth. Emerging markets have been somewhat unloved over the past couple of years and valuations seem to be… very much in line and these emerging market countries have some balance sheets that look a heck of a lot more healthy than ours in the U.S.”

Still, it’s worth taking these moves with a grain of salt. Hedge funds in general have not had a particularly strong year. According to Bloomberg, hedge funds in general have returned only 2% so far in 2014, the worst year since 2011. That forced the closure of 461 funds in the first half of the year, on pace to be the worst year for such moves since 2009.

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US stocks surge on earnings; Nasdaq +1.6%

Stocks jump; Dow up 200 pts on Caterpillar outlook

U.S. stocks surged on Thursday, lifting the Dow industrials back into positive terrain for the year, as heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar (CAT) boosted profit outlook and an unexpected increase in euro-zone manufacturing eased worries about the global economy.

Caterpillar rallied after reporting a quarterly profit that soared past estimates; 3M (MMM) jumped after the diversified manufacturer posted higher quarterly profit, and General Motors (GM) also tallied a better-than-expected profit in the third quarter.

“It’s earnings. When we started the day the Dow was still down on the year, then you saw Caterpillar and GM come out with good news,” said Chris Gaffney, senior market strategist, Everbank Wealth Management, referring to the Dow’s return to the black for 2014.

The volatility of last week could be interpreted as a sign that investors are worried about whether the U.S. economy can stand on its own, once the Federal Reserve pulls the plug on bond purchases, otherwise known as quantitative easing, said Gaffney. “This week, these earnings show perhaps it will.”

On Thursday, the CBOE Volatility Index (^VIX), a measure of investor uncertainty, fell nearly 11 percent to 15.99.

Thursday’s economic reports had the four-week average of Americans filing for jobless benefits dropping to a 14-year low.

The Conference Board’s index of leading indicators for September increased 0.8 percent.

Surveys had euro-area businesses performing far better than expected in October, along with a slight expansion in China’s manufacturing sector.

Rising as much as 277 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow Jones Global Indexes: .DJI) was lately up 274.05 points, or 1.7 percent, to 16,735.37, with 3M, Caterpillar and oil-producerChevron (CVX) leading blue-chip gains that extended to 26 of 30 components.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) advanced 30.24 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,957.35, with energy and industrials leading gains among its 10 main sectors and telecommunications the sole laggard.

The Nasdaq (^IXIC).rallied 78.58 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,461.47.

For every share falling, roughly six gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where 228 million shares traded by 11:15 a.m. Eastern. Composite volume neared 1.2 billion.

The 10-year Treasury note (U.S.:US10Y) yield, used in determining rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, jumped 5 basis points to 2.272 percent.

The U.S. dollar (Exchange:.DXY) edged higher against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and dollar-denominated commodities were mixed.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, December gold futures (CEC:Commodities Exchange Centre: @GC14Z) fell $18.00, or 1.5 percent, to $1,227.50 an ounce, and crude-oil futures (New York Mercantile Exchange: @CL14Z) for December rose $1.60, or 1.7 percent, to $82.12 a barrel.

On Wednesday, U.S. stocks turned lower, following the S&P 500’s biggest jump in a year, as investors considered the fatal shooting of a soldier in Ottawa, reports of gunfire in the halls of Canada’s Parliament and oil falling to a more-than two-year low.

Read More Stocks end sharply lower; oil, Canadian shooting cited

Coming Up This Week:

Friday

Earnings: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Colgate-Palmolive, Ford, UPS, Procter and Gamble, Nasdaq, Delphi Automotive, State Street, Ericsson, Shire

10:00 a.m.: New home sales

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