Stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Monday, extending the lackluster performance seen last Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by just 2 points.
Traders may remain reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.
The Fed is widely expected to leave its monetary policy unchanged, but traders will be looking for any clues the central bank is considering tapering its asset purchases.
Last Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed consumer price inflation reached the highest level in nearly thirteen years in May, although Fed officials have repeatedly downplayed the risks of prolonged inflation.
Traders will likely pay close attention to any changes to the Fed’s comments about inflation, with previous statements largely attributing rising inflation to “transitory factors.”
A lack of major U.S. economic data may also keep traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of a slew of data in the coming days.
While the Fed announcement will be in the spotlight, traders are also likely to keep an eye on reports on producer prices, retail sales, industrial production, and housing starts.
Stocks showed a lack of direction for much of the trading day on Friday but managed to end the session mostly higher. The S&P 500 reached a new record closing high, while the Nasdaq rose to its best closing level in over a month.
The major averages moved to the upside going into close to finish the day in positive territory. The Dow crept up 13.36 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 34,479.60, the Nasdaq climbed 49.09 points or 0.4 percent to 14,069.42 and the S&P 500 edged up 8.26 points or 0.2 percent at 4,247.44.
For the week, the major averages turned in a mixed performance. The Nasdaq jumped by 1.8 percent and the S&P 500 rose by 0.4 percent, but the Dow fell by 0.8 percent.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Monday, although several major markets were closed for holidays. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi inched up by 0.1 percent.
The major European markets have also shown modest moves to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index are both up by 0.2 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.69 to $71.60 a barrel after rising $0.62 to $70.91 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, after slumping $16.80 to $1,879.60 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are plunging $27.40 to $1,852.20 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.77 yen versus the 109.66 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.2114 compared to last Friday’s $1.2109.
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