U.S. Stocks May Lack Direction In Early Trading

(RTTNews) - After ending last Friday's trading little changed, stocks may continue to turn in a lackluster performance in early trading on Monday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures down by less than a tenth of a percent.

Traders may stick to the sidelines as they take a moment to assess the recent activity in the markets and the near-term outlook.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 set new record highs last week and posted strong weekly gains, while the narrower Dow moved lower for the third time in the last four weeks.

Investors may also be reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of some key economic data in the coming days.

Reports on retail sales and industrial production are likely to be in the spotlight, while reports on homebuilder confidence, housing starts and existing home sales may also attract attention.

The upcoming Juneteenth holiday may also lead to lighter than usual trading activity, as the markets will be closed on Wednesday.

On the U.S. economic front, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report this morning showing New York manufacturing activity contracted at a notably slower rate in the month of June.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index climbed to a negative 6.0 in June from a negative 15.6 in May, although a negative reading still indicates contraction. Economists had expected the index to rise to a negative 9.0.

Despite the continued contraction in current activity, the New York Fed said optimism about the six-month outlook picked up to its highest level in more than two years.

Stocks saw modest weakness throughout much of the trading session on Friday but recovered to end the day roughly flat. The tech-heavy Nasdaq bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before eventually ending the session at a record closing high.

While the Nasdaq crept up 21.32 points or 0.1 percent to 17,688.88, the S&P 500 edged down 2.14 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 5,431.60 and the Dow dipped 57.94 points or 0.2 percent to 38,589.16.

For the week, the Nasdaq surged by 3.2 percent and the S&P 500 jumped by 1.6 percent, but the Dow bucked the uptrend and fell by 0.5 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.8 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index slid by 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, European stocks have moved mostly higher on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is nearly unchanged, the German DAX Index is up by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.4 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.50 to $78.95 a barrel after slipping $0.17 to $78.45 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, after surging $31.10 to $2,349.10 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are sliding $16.50 to $2,332.60 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 157.87 yen versus the 157.40 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0708 compared to last Friday's $1.0703.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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