Stock Index Futures Play It Cautious Heading Into Monday

After a rocky week in the markets, investors are hoping to turn the ship around. On Friday, the three major indices raced ahead. It was not enough to undo the recent damage, however.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added more than 200 points to sit atop the 35K level once again, while the S&P 500 gained nearly 1% and the Nasdaq advanced slightly more than 1%. Despite Friday’s gains, the Dow, S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq were lower on the week. Market volatility is likely to persist.

Investors were faced with the reality that the Federal Reserve will likely begin tapering its bond-buying program sooner than later, not to mention the looming threat of the delta variant, all of which weighed on stocks. Geopolitical uncertainties tied to the unraveling of Afghanistan have also pressured stocks.

The WTI crude oil price also took a hit, falling close to 9% last week to just over USD 62 per barrel. In crypto land, the bitcoin price rallied and inched closer to the psychologically important USD 50K level over the weekend.

Stock index futures played it cautiously ahead of Monday’s open and were mostly unchanged from Friday’s session.

Stocks to Watch

  • Investors have been rewarding shares of Tesla. The EV maker held an artificial intelligence day last week and revealed plans for an AI-fueled humanoid robot. Tesla shares were up 1% on Friday.
  • Nvidia’s plan to acquire U.K.-based chip company ARM in a USD 40 billion deal is facing regulatory scrutiny. Nonetheless, shares of Nvidia closed higher by 5% on Friday.
  • Shares of athletic retailer Foot Locker advanced 5% on Friday on the heels of stronger than expected earnings and a robust outlook for the rest of the year.
  • Oil stocks including the likes of ExxonMobil will be in focus after the oil price weakness.

Look Ahead

On Monday, new and existing home sales data will be released for the month of July. Wells Fargo economists predict new home sales rose last month, breaking a three-month stretch of declines, thanks to higher inventories at slightly more attractive home prices.

All eyes will be on the Federal Reserve Jackson Hole event, though the symposium will be held virtually this year due to the health crisis. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s highly anticipated speech will be live-streamed on Friday. The theme of this year’s speech will be “Macroeconomic Policy in an Uneven Economy.”