Following the volatility seen to close out the previous week, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Monday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the Dow futures unchanged.
Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves as they look ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.
The Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but traders will pay close attention to the accompanying statement and the central bank’s projections for clues about the outlook for rates.
While CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is currently indicating a 99.0 percent chance the Fed will leave rates unchanged this week, the outlook for the November meeting is somewhat more mixed.
The FedWatch Tool is indicating a 69.0 percent chance rates will remain unchanged in November but a 30.7 percent chance of another quarter point rate hike.
“How the Fed delivers the pause is crucial for November and December rate expectations, but whether it’s presented with a dovish or hawkish tilt is what matters most for financial markets,” said Quincy Krosby, Chief Global Strategist for LPL Financial. “The Fed, and Fed Chair Powell particularly, will emphasize that they remain data dependent.”
She added, “Financial markets are even more keenly data dependent, and the wrapping of the pause, with a dovish or hawkish angle, is key for the market’s direction.”
Shortly after the start of trading, the National Association of Home Builders is scheduled to release its report on homebuilder confidence in the month of September. The housing market index is expected to come in unchanged compared to the 50 seen in August.
Stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading day on Friday, giving back ground following the rally seen on Thursday. The major averages all showed notable moves to the downside, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the pullback.
The major averages all finished the day firmly in negative territory. The Nasdaq tumbled 217.72 points or 1.6 percent to 13,708.33, the S&P 500 slumped 54.78 points or 1.2 percent to 4,450.32 and the Dow slid 288.87 points or 0.8 percent to 34,618.24.
For the week, the major averages turned in a mixed performance. While the Dow inched up by 0.1 percent, the S&P 500 slipped by 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq fell by 0.4 percent.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Monday, with the Japanese markets closed for a holiday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled by 1.4 percent and South Korea’s Kospi slumped by 1.0 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index bucked the downtrend and rose by 0.3 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is down by 1.0 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.7 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.3 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $0.95 to $91.72 a barrel after rising $0.61 to $90.77 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, after climbing $13.40 to $1,946.20 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are inching up $1.90 to $1,948.10 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 147.67 yen versus the 147.85 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0658 compared to last Friday’s $1.0657.
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