U.S. stock futures point to weak finish to strong January for Wall Street

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U.S. stock futures on Tuesday pointed to a weak finish to a strong month ahead of a key Federal Reserve rate decision and more corporate earnings.

What’s happening

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 113 points, or 0.3%, to 33672.
  • S&P 500 futures dropped 17 points, or 0.4%, to 4016.
  • Nasdaq 100 futures decreased 78.5 points, or 0.7%, to 11890.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 261 points, or 0.77%, to 33717, the S&P 500 declined 53 points, or 1.3%, to 4018, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 228 points, or 1.96%, to 11394.

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The S&P 500 has gained nearly 5% this month.

What’s driving markets

The Federal Open Market Committee kicks off its two-day meeting on Tuesday, with near universal expectations for a quarter-point rate hike, with the uncertainty focused on the commentary to be delivered in the statement and the press conference with Chair Jerome Powell.

“We doubt that the Fed will deliver a dovish surprise at its meeting, but the imminent end of interest rate hikes is nevertheless positive for risk appetite,” said Willem Sels, global chief investment officer at HSBC Global Private Banking & Wealth. “That said, the main beneficiaries lie outside of the U,S,, in emerging markets, where borrowing costs are already declining as U.S. Treasury yields have peaked and the dollar is falling.”

The U.S. dollar index is down 11% from its late September peak. The yield on the 10-year Treasury has fallen nearly 70 basis points from its late October peak of 4.23%.

The economics calendar includes the employment cost index, an important though lagging measure of wage pressure.

The earnings docket includes General Motors McDonald’s and Exxon Mobil

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