Futures Pointing To Initial Strength On Wall Street

WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) – Stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Monday following the mixed performance seen in the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 0.2 percent.

Traders may look to pick up stocks at relatively reduced levels following the weakness seen last week, which partly reflected ongoing concerns about the outlook for interest rates.

Overall trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, as traders look ahead to tomorrow’s closely watched report on consumer price inflation.

Consumer prices are expected to show a monthly increase in January, although the annual rate of growth is expected to slow to 6.2 percent from 6.5 percent in the previous month.

The inflation data could have a significant impact on the outlook for interest rates amid recent speculation the Federal Reserve may raise rates higher than currently anticipated.

Following the significant downturn seen over the course of Thursday’s session, the major U.S. stock indexes turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. While the tech-heavy Nasdaq saw further downside, the Dow and the S&P 500 regained some ground.

The Nasdaq climbed off its worst levels of the day but still closed down 71.46 points or 0.6 percent to 11,718.12, while the Dow rose 169.39 points or 0.6 percent to 33,869.27.

The S&P 500 spent most of the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing up 8.96 points or 0.2 percent to 4,090.46.

Despite the mixed performance on the day, the major averages all moved lower for the week. The Dow edged down by 0.2 percent, the S&P 500 slumped by 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq plunged by 2.4 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.3 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $0.60 to $79.12 a barrel after jumping $1.66 to $79.72 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, after slipping $4 to $1,874.50 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are dipping $4.70 to $1,869.80 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 132.65 yen versus the 131.36 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0681 compared to last Friday’s $1.0678.

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