U.S. Stocks May Lack Direction In Early Trading

After last week’s rally and the long holiday weekend, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Tuesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures down by just 2 points.

Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves after the upward move seen last Friday lifted the major averages to record closing highs.

Optimism about the economic outlook may help support the markets, although traders remain somewhat concerned about the outlook for monetary policy.

Further insight into the Federal Reserve’s plans may be provided later this week when the central bank releases the minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting.

Shortly after the start of trading, the Institute for Supply Management is scheduled to release its report on service sector activity in the month of June.

The ISM’s services PMI is expected to edge down to 63.5 in June from 64.0 in May, although a reading above 50 would indicate continued growth.

With traders reacting positively to the closely watched monthly jobs report, stocks showed a strong move to the upside over the course of the trading day on Friday. The advance lifted all three major averages to new record closing highs.

The major averages reached new highs going into the close of trading. The Dow rose 152.82 points or 0.4 percent to 34,786.35, the Nasdaq advanced 116.95 points or 0.8 percent to 14,639.33 and the S&P 500 climbed 32.40 points or 0.8 percent to 4,352.34.

For the week, the Nasdaq spiked by 2 percent, the S&P 500 surged up by 1.7 percent and the Dow jumped by 1.1 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved modestly lower on the day. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are all down by 0.2 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.77 to $75.93 a barrel after edging down $0.07 to $75.16 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, after climbing $6.50 to $1,783.30 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are spiking $31.30 to $1,814.60 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 110.65 yen compared to the 110.97 yen it fetched on Monday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1843 compared to yesterday’s $1.1864.

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