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Futures Pointing To Roughly Flat Open On Wall Street - U.S. Commentary

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Following the sharp drop seen last 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 look to pick up stocks at reduced levels on the heels of last week's sell-off, although concerns about the global economic outlook and skepticism about the potential for a long-term trade deal between the U.S. and China is likely to sap investors risk appetite.

Overall trading activity may be somewhat subdued, with a lack of major U.S. economic data likely to keep some traders on the sidelines.

The economic calendar remains relatively light throughout the week, although reports on producer and consumer price inflation, retail sales, and industrial production are likely to attract attention.

Traders may nonetheless remain reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting next week.

With the Fed widely expected to raise interest rates by another quarter point, traders will closely scrutinize the accompanying statement for clues about future rate hikes.

Among individual stocks, Shares of Nutrisystem (NTRI) after moving sharply higher in pre-market trading after the weight loss company agreed to be acquired by Tivity Health (TVTY) for $1.3 billion in cash and stock.

Social media giant Facebook (FB) may also move to the upside after the company said its board has approved a $9 billion in increase in its share repurchase program.

On the other hand, shares of Visteon (VC) are likely to come under pressure after Goldman Sachs lowered its rating on the auto parts maker's stock to Sell from Neutral.

After fluctuating early in the session, stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading day on Friday. The major averages showed a substantial move back to the downside following the rebound from early weakness seen on Thursday.

The major averages climbed off their worst levels going into the close but remained firmly negative. The Dow tumbled 558.72 points or 2.2 percent to 24,388.95, the Nasdaq plunged 219.01 points or 3.1 percent to 6,969.25 and the S&P 500 slumped 62.87 points or 2.3 percent to 2,633.08.

With the steep drop on the day, the major averages moved significantly lower for the week. The Nasdaq nosedived by 4.9 percent, while the Dow and the S&P 500 plummeted by 4.5 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved notably lower during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index plunged by 2.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled by 1.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has climbed by 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are down by 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are sliding $0.98 to $51.63 a barrel after surging up $1.12 to $52.61 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,250, down $2.60 from the previous session's close of $1,252.60. On Friday, gold climbed $9

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 112.88 yen compared to the 112.69 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1409 compared to last Friday's $1.1379.

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