U.S. Stocks May Lack Direction Ahead Of Inflation Data, Powell Testimony

After turning in a strong performance last week, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Monday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a slightly higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 0.1 percent.

Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves ahead of several key economic events this week that could have a significant impact on the outlook for interest rates.

While the economic calendar gets off to a slow start today, reports on consumer and producer prices in June will be in the spotlight in the coming days.

The Labor Department’s report on consumer prices is expected to show a slowdown in the pace of annual price growth, which could bolster optimism about a rate cut in September.

Traders are also likely to pay close attention to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s congressional testimony this week, looking for clues about the interest rate outlook.

Stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Friday, with the major averages all moving to the upside after turning in a mixed performance early in the session. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed higher for the fourth straight session, once again reaching new record closing highs.

The major averages reached new highs for the session going into the close of trading. The Nasdaq jumped 164.46 points or 0.9 percent to 18,352.76, the S&P 500 climbed 30.17 points or 0.5 percent to 5,567.19 and the Dow rose 67.87 points or 0.2 percent to 39,375.87.

For the holiday-interrupted week, the Nasdaq spiked by 3.5 percent, the S&P 500 surged by 2.0 percent and the Dow advanced by 0.7 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.3 percent, China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid by 0.9 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled by 1.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are seeing modest strength on the day. While the German DAX Index is up by 0.3 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is just above the unchanged line.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.53 to $82.63 a barrel after falling $0.72 to $83.16 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, after surging $28.30 to $2,397.70 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are sliding $14.90 to $2,382.80 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 160.77 yen versus the 160.75 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0839 compared to last Friday’s $1.0840.

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