With traders looking ahead to this week Federal Reserve meeting, stocks may turn in a lackluster performance in early trading on Monday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 22 points.
Many traders are likely to remain on the sidelines in the days leading up to the conclusion of the Fed's two-day monetary policy meeting on Thursday.
The Fed is due to announce its latest decision on monetary policy Thursday afternoon followed by a news conference by Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Uncertainty about whether the Fed will announce another round of quantitative easing is likely to keep traders reluctant to make any significant moves.
Ahead of the announcement from the Fed, traders are likely to keep a close eye on Europe, as Germany's Constitutional Court is expected to rule on a temporary injunction request against Europe's permanent bailout fund.
Developments in Greece also remain in focus, as Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has reportedly faced trouble getting the country's lenders to sign off on his government's proposed budget cuts.
On Monday, some negative sentiment may be generated by disappointing trade data from China, with a report showing an unexpected year-over-year drop in imports in the month of August.
Stocks showed a lack of direction throughout the trading day on Friday, largely holding on to the substantial gains posted on Thursday. The choppy trading came as traders digested a disappointing jobs report.
The major averages eventually ended the session modestly higher, reaching new multi-year closing highs. The Dow edged up 14.64 points or 0.1 percent to 13,306.64, the Nasdaq inched up 0.61 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 3,136.42 and the S&P 500 rose 5.80 points or 0.4 percent to 1,437.92.
Largely due to Thursday's standout gains, the major averages all moved higher for the week. The Dow rose by 1.6 percent, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 advanced by 2.3 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a lackluster performance before ending Monday's trading mixed. While Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed just below the unchanged line, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up by 0.1 percent.
The major European markets are also turning in a mixed performance on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has inched up 0.1 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.4 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 0.1 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.09 to $96.51 a barrel after finishing the week ended September 7th down $0.21 or 0.2 percent at $96.42 a barrel. Gold futures, which jumped $55.90 or 3.3 percent to $1,740.50 an ounce last week, are sliding $6 to $1,734.50 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar ended last week little changed against the Japanese yen at 78.25 yen. Meanwhile, the greenback tumbled 1.8 percent against the euro to $1.2817. The dollar is currently trading at 78.26 yen and is valued at $1.2789 versus the euro.
by RTT Staff Writer
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