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Futures Pointing To Roughly Flat Open On Wall Street

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February 26 2024 4:07AM

The major U.S. index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open on Monday, with stocks likely to show a lack of direction following the strong performance seen last week.

Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves as they digest last week’s gains, which lifted the Dow and S&P 500 to new record highs.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has also reached its best levels in well over two years but has encountered some resistance around its November 2021 highs.

Traders may also stick to sidelines ahead of the release of some key economic data later this week, including a closely watched inflation reading.

The Commerce Department’s report on personal income and spending, which is scheduled to be released on Thursday, includes a reading on consumer price inflation said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve.

The inflation data could have a notable impact on the outlook for interest rates, as Fed officials have said they need greater confidence inflation is slowing before cutting rates.

Reports on durable goods orders, consumer confidence, weekly jobless claims and manufacturing activity are also likely to attract attention in the coming days.

Stocks extended Thursday’s substantial rally in early trading on Friday but turned in a relatively lackluster performance over the remainder of the trading session. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs.

The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before closing narrowly mixed. While the Nasdaq dipped 44.80 points or 0.3 percent to 15,996.82, the Dow rose 62.42 points or 0.2 percent to 39,131.53 and the S&P 500 inch up 1.77 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 5,088.80.

For the holiday-shortened week, the S&P 500 surged by 1.7 percent, while the Nasdaq and the Dow jumped by 1.4 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

The early upward move reflected an extension of the rally seen in during Thursday’s session, which came on the heels of upbeat earnings news from AI darling Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA).

Buying interest waned shortly after the start of trading, however, as traders took a breather following Thursday’s surge.

Overall trading activity remained somewhat subdued as the day progressed, as a lack of major U.S. economic data kept some traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of several key reports next week.

The Commerce Department’s report on personal income and spending is likely to be in focus next week, as it includes readings on inflation said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve.

Traders are also likely to keep an eye on reports on durable goods orders, new home sales, consumer confidence and manufacturing activity.

Reflecting the lackluster performance by the broader markets, most of the major sectors showed only modest moves on the day.

Gold stocks showed a strong move to the upside, however, resulting in a 1.8 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index. The strength among gold stocks came amid a notable increase by the price of the precious metal.

On the other hand, semiconductor stocks gave back ground after helping lead Thursday’s rally, dragging the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down by 1.1 percent.

Airline stocks also saw considerable weakness on the day, moving lower along with oil service and computer hardware stocks.