Futures higher as Irma weakens, North Korea tensions ease

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were sharply higher on Monday on relief that Hurricane Irma weakened and North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test over the weekend as feared.

* Irma pounded heavily populated areas of central Florida, but gradually lost strength, weakening to a Category 1 hurricane overnight and is expected to weaken to a tropical storm during the day.

* The United States and its allies had been bracing for another long-range missile launch for the 69th anniversary of North Korea’s founding on Saturday, but its leader Kim Jong Un hosted a massive celebration instead.

* With the tensions easing, safe-haven assets lost appeal, with gold falling from Friday’s 13-month high as the dollar edged up.

* Wall Street ended mixed on Friday, with the major indexes all posting declines for the week, as investors braced for Irma and fretted about Pyongyang’s conducting a missile test.

* Oil prices edged lower on Monday on concerns that Irma could dent oil demand in the world’s top oil consuming nation.

* Among stocks, Snap (SNAP.N) was down 1.56 percent in premarket trading after Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to “hold” from “buy”.

* U.S.-listed shares of Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA.N) jumped 14 percent after the generics drugmaker poached Lundbeck’s (LUN.CO) Kare Schultz as its new chief executive.

* GrubHub (GRUB.N) fell 1.41 percent after Credit Suisse downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform”.

Futures snapshot at 6:57 a.m. ET (1057 GMT):

* Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 119 points, or 0.55 percent, with 12,694 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 13.5 points, or 0.55 percent, with 159,068 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 46 points, or 0.78 percent, on volume of 17,535 contracts.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza

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