Stock market poised to end strong July on upbeat note – MarketWatch

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U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a modestly higher open on Monday, suggesting Wall Street would close out one of its strongest months of 2017 with yet another gain and driving benchmarks further into record territory.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMU7, +0.31%  rose 45 points, or 0.2%, to 21,820, while S&P 500 futures ESU7, +0.19%  added 2.45 points, or 0.1%, to 2,472.75. Nasdaq-100 index futures NQU7, +0.29%  gained 14.25 points, or 0.2%, to 5,924.50.

Major indexes finished slightly lower on Friday, with the exception of the Dow industrials DJIA, +0.15% That benchmark closed at an all-time high of 21,830.31, for a gain of 0.2%. For the week, the DJIA also outperformed, rising 1.2%, while the other major indexes logged modest losses. At current levels, the Dow is near records while the S&P is about 0.5% below its own peak. The Nasdaq is 1.3% below its own record, hit earlier this month.

July was shaping up to be the second-best month of the year, behind February, for the Dow and the S&P 500. With one more session to go, the DJIA is looking at a 2.25% monthly gain and the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.13% at a rise of 2%. Thanks in large part to gains in technology stocks, the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.12%  poised to rise 3.8%, its best month since January.

In a sign of how strong the market’s uptrend has been of late, July is on track to set the fourth straight monthly gain for the S&P 500, as well as its eighth monthly increase of the past nine. (The only down month, March, ended lower by 0.04%.) Both the Dow and the Nasdaq are also set for their eighth monthly gain of the past nine months.

Apple Inc. AAPL, -0.70%  may have a sway on how the rest of the week goes for tech stocks, and maybe the larger market, with the iPhone maker due to report results on Tuesday. Josh Mahony, market analyst at IG, said investors will be waiting to see if Apple can drive more record highs for indexes.

Read: Apple earnings: How long will iPhone sales be on ‘pause’?

“Today marks the beginning of a massive week for the markets, representing a crossroads of big economic and corporate data. While last week saw 20% of the S&P 500 firms reporting, this week sees economic releases more than compensate for any drop-off in earnings data,” said Mahoney.

Investors will be looking ahead to the closely U.S. watched monthly jobs data, scheduled for release on Friday.

See: Ignoring Washington chaos, companies likely kept up strong hiring in July

Data updates expected to arrive Monday includes the Chicago purchasing managers index for July, due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time, and pending home sales for June at 10 a.m. Eastern.

China data: U.S. stock futures were tracking gains in Europe and Asia. European mining stocks rose after data from China, a big buyer of industrial and precious metals, showed construction activity at its highest level since December 2013. But China manufacturing activity fell more than expected in July, which hinted of a slowdown in the world’s No. 2 economy.

Read: Can China make the reflation trade great again?

Gold prices GCU7, -0.05% posted modest losses, though copper HGU7, +0.61%  rose 1% to $2.904 a ton.

Stocks to watch: Shares of Snapchat parent Snap Inc. SNAP, -1.36%  fell 2.4% in premarket trading. Some investors and employees will now be allowed to sell shares thanks to a recent lockup expiration. The first trading day those shares could hit the market is Monday.

Dynavax Technologies Corp. DVAX, +0.00%  surged 85% before the bell after a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee said the safety data for its hepatitis B vaccination supported its approval.

Shares of Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. SNI, +0.58%  rose nearly 1% in premarket trading after Discovery Communications Inc. DISCA, +1.55% DISCK, +1.43%  said it would buy the owner of HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel among others. Shares of Discovery Communications rose 2.6%.

Shares of Tesla TSLA, +0.18%  rose 1.5% in premarket trading. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk detailed the price of the Model 3 at a launch party on Friday evening, when he said reservations for the new model stood at more than 500,000. Tesla Inc. TSLA, +0.18% will report quarterly earnings on Wednesday.

Other markets: Oil futures CLU7, -0.48%  were drifting south. Investors are keeping an eye on speculation the U.S. may step up sanctions against Venezuela—a major exporter of oil to the U.S. and a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. In a referendum over the weekend, President Nicolás Maduro’s government claimed it has won overwhelming powers to redraft Venezuela’s constitution.

See: How Venezuela chaos could spark oil rally OPEC has failed to achieve

While European stocks were rising Monday, the Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, +0.36%  was looking at a lackluster July finish. In Asia, stocks finished the day and month of July mostly higher. The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index HSI, +1.28%  rose 6% for the month.

The dollar was rebounding, with the ICE Dollar Index DXY, -0.61%  up 0.6%. But the index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, remained on course for the worst month since January.

Meanwhile, the dollar surged against the Russian ruble USDRUB, +0.9846% to 60.095 from 59.514 last week. Russian President Vladimir Putin said 755 U.S. diplomats and staff would have to leave the country by September in retaliation for impending U.S. sanctions on Moscow.

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