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Stocks May Open Roughly Flat Amid Lack Of Catalysts - U.S. Commentary


After moving sharply lower last week, stocks are likely to 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 down by just 3 points.

A lack of major market catalysts is likely to contribute to choppy trading on Wall Street, as the earnings season is largely over and there is no major U.S. economic data scheduled for the day.

Trading activity may remain subdued throughout the week amid a relatively light economic calendar, although reports on new and existing home sales are likely to attract some attention along with the weekly jobless claims report.

Investors are also likely to keep a close eye on the release of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday.

The minutes of the meeting may shed some additional light on the outlook for the Fed's stimulus program. Uncertainty about when the central bank will begin tapering the program has recently weighed on the markets.

Among individual stocks, shares of Supernus Pharmaceuticals (SUPN) are moving sharply higher in pre-market trading after the drug maker said it received final FDA approval for Trokendi XR, a novel once-daily extended release formulation of topiramate for the treatment of epilepsy.

Industrial technology company Edwards Group (EVAC) is also likely to see early strength after agreeing to be acquired by Atlas Copco for $1.6 billion, including the assumption of debt.

On the other hand, shares of L & L Energy (LLEN) have come under pressure in pre-market trading after the coal company provided a strategic update on acquisitions, management and operations.

Wall Street suffered another day of losses during Friday's session, extending the sharp sell-off seen on Thursday. Stocks saw gains early in the session, but confidence waned late in the day and the major averages drifted into negative territory during the afternoon.

The Dow sank 30.72 points or 0.2 percent to close at 15,081.47, while the Nasdaq slipped 3.34 points or 0.1 percent to 3,602.78 and the S&P 500 retreated 5.49 points or 0.3 percent to finish at 1,655.83.

For the week, the Dow and the S&P 500 Index fell 2.2 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, while the Nasdaq declined 1.6 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Index edged down by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has dropped by 0.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are down by 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are sliding $0.51 to $106.95 a barrel after climbing $1.49 or 1.4 percent to $107.46 a barrel in the week ended August 16th. Gold futures, which jumped $58.80 or 4.5 percent to $1,371 an ounce last week, are rising $1.50 to $1,372.50 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar moved higher against most currencies last week. The greenback rose 1.4 percent against the yen before ending the week at 97.52 yen, and it edged up 0.1 percent against the euro to $1.3329. The dollar is currently trading at 97.87 yen and is valued at $1.3352 versus the euro.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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