Futures lower amid mounting tensions between U.S., N. Korea

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[August 09, 2017]  By Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower on Wednesday as investors moved away from risky assets following escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States.

* North Korea said it was considering firing missiles at Guam, a U.S.-held Pacific island, after President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned the nuclear-armed nation that it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States

* Safe-haven assets gained. Gold <XAU=> rose 0.6 percent, while the Swiss franc <EURCHF=> was on track to post its biggest single day rise in about two-and-a-half years.

* U.S. stocks closed lower on Tuesday after Trump's comments sparked a late afternoon selling. The Dow industrials snapped a 9-day streak of closing records.

* The CBOE Volatility Index <.VIX>, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, closed at its highest in about a month.

* European shares were also lower following reports that a car had rammed a group of soldiers in Paris, injuring six.

* U.S. trading volume has been low with summer setting in and the U.S. Congress expected to be in recess until Sept. 5. The S&P hasn't moved more than 0.5 percent in one day since July and has fallen more than 1 percent only twice this year.

* Economic data expected on Wednesday includes worker productivity for the second quarter, which is expected to have increased at a 0.7 percent annual rate after remaining unchanged in the previous quarter. Labor cost for the quarter is also expected to have risen 1.2 percent.

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

* Shares of Dow component Walt Disney were down 3.77 percent in premarket trading after the company said it will stop providing new movies to Netflix starting in 2019 and launch its own streaming service. Netflix was down 4.01 percent.

* Travel website operator Priceline fell 7.03 percent, while travel-review website operator TripAdvisor was down 7.96 percent after both the companies issued disappointing forecasts.

Futures snapshot at 7:11 a.m. ET (1111 GMT):

* Dow e-minis were down 32 points, or 0.15 percent, with 30,045 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 9.25 points, or 0.37 percent, with 232,205 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 32.75 points, or 0.55 percent, on volume of 38,103 contracts.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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