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Futures Pointing To Modestly Higher Open On Wall Street

Following the rally seen to close out the previous week, stocks are likely to see further upside in early trading on Monday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 0.2 percent.

Stocks may continue to benefit from the upward momentum seen last week, which came amid a positive reaction to upbeat tech earnings.

Trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, as traders look ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

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The Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but the accompanying statement and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s post-meeting press conference may shed additional light on the outlook for rates.

Recent economic data has tamped down expectations of a near-term rate cut, with the central bank now seen as likely to leave rates unchanged until at least September.

Traders may also stick to the sidelines ahead of the release of an avalanche of earnings news this week along with the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report.

Stocks moved sharply higher during trading on Friday, largely offsetting the weakness seen during Thursday’s session. The major averages all moved to the upside on the day, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the charge.

The major averages pulled back off their best levels late in the day but remained firmly positive. The Nasdaq surged 316.14 points or 2.0 percent to 15,927.90, the S&P 500 jumped 51.54 points or 1.0 percent to 5,099.96 and the Dow climbed 153.86 points or 0.4 percent to 38,239.66.

For the week, the Nasdaq spiked by 4.2 percent, the S&P 500 shot up by 2.7 percent and the Dow advanced by 0.7 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Monday, with the Japanese markets closed for a holiday. China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose by 0.5 percent.

European stocks are also seeing modest strength on the day. While the German DAX Index is nearly unchanged, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.4 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $0.60 to $83.25 a barrel after rising $0.28 to $83.85 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, after inching up $4.70 to $2,347.20 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are edging down $0.30 to $2,346.90 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 156.40 yen versus the 158.33 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0716 compared to last Friday’s $1.0693.

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