Wall Street looks poised for a decline in early trading on Monday. With little major news to drive markets, traders are ready to book some profits after notable gains posted at the end of last week.
Stocks moved sharply higher on Friday, adding to the strong gains posted in the previous session. The markets benefited from some relatively upbeat U.S. economic data as well as the latest news out of Europe. The Dow rose 188 points. The Nasdaq climbed 65 points. The S&P 500 advanced 26 points.
Europe remains a key focus on Wall Street.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti have again vowed to defend the euro. The two leaders made the pledge during a phone conversation on Sunday. They also stated that the decisions made at the EU summit last month must be implemented as quickly as possible.
While the bulk of earnings season is over, some noteworthy reports are still coming out.
Arch Coal Inc. (ACI) said Friday it slipped to a loss for the second quarter. The miner incurred mine closure and impairment charges amid persisting weakness in U.S. coal demand. Nonetheless, the company's results were better than Wall Street analysts had predicted.
Meanwhile, Air France-KLM reported a loss for the second quarter that widened from last year. The European air carrier was hurt by restructuring and accounting charges.
In other news, CB&I (CBI) has reached a definitive merger deal to acquire Shaw Group (SHAW) for around $3 billion. The company will pay $46 per share in a cash and stock transaction.
There are no major U.S. economic reports due out today, though a lot of important information is set to be released later in the week. This includes the Fed's monetary policy decision and the latest jobs data.
Looking overseas, Spain continues in a recession. New numbers released by the government showed a 0.4 percent contraction during the second quarter. This follows a 0.3 percent drop in economic activity for both the first quarter of this year and the final quarter of last year.
Home prices in the U.K. declined in July, according to new data released by research firm Hometrack. The figure slipped 0.1 percent compared to the previous month. This was the first decline so far this year.
In other news, "The Dark Knight Rises" remained the number-one movie at the box office over the weekend. The latest film in the Batman franchise drew another $64.1 million, taking its total gross to just over $289 million. The new release "The Watch" brought in just $13 million.
European stocks are showing gains in early trading. Germany is up 0.6 percent. The U.K. is higher by 0.5 percent. France is lagging a bit with a gain of 0.3 percent.
Asian stocks have finished higher in today's trading. Japan advanced 0.8 percent. Hong Kong climbed 1.6 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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