Futures Pointing to Initial Strength on Wall Street
By Investors Hub
Major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Monday following the lackluster performances seen to close out the previous week.
After closing mixed for two consecutive sessions, stocks turned in another relatively lackluster performance during trading on Friday. The major averages eventually closed on opposite sides of the unchanged line for the third straight day.
While the Dow slipped 2.53 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 21,394.76, the Nasdaq climbed 28.56 points or 0.5 percent to 6,265.25 and the S&P 500 rose 3.80 points or 0.2 percent to 2,438.30.
For the week, the Nasdaq surged up by 1.8 percent, while the Dow crept up by 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 edged up by 0.2 percent.
The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders remained reluctant to make significant moves amid uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets.
Traders largely shrugged off a report from the Commerce Department showing a rebound in new home sales in the month of May.
The Commerce Department said new home sales climbed by 2.9 percent to an annual rate of 610,000 in May from the upwardly revised April rate of 593,000.
Economists had expected new home sales to jump by 5.4 percent to a rate of 600,000 from the 569,000 originally reported for the previous month.
Traders also continued to digest the details of the Senate Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare that was unveiled on Thursday.
Nevada Senator Dean Heller, R-Nev., has joined four other Republican Senators in saying he cannot support the plan in its current form.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., has little margin for error with the bill, as he can only afford to lose the support of two Republicans and still pass the legislation.
Natural gas stocks showed a strong move to the upside on the day, resulting in a 2.1 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index. The index continued to recover after hitting its lowest closing level in over a year on Wednesday.
QEP Resources (QEP), Southwestern Energy (SWN) and Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) turned in some of the sector’s best performances amid an increase by the price of natural gas.
Significant strength was also visible among gold stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent gain posted by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index. The strength in the sector came amid an increase by the price of the precious metal.
Steel stocks also saw notable strength, with U.S. Steel (X) and AK Steel (AKS) leading the way higher after Deutsche Bank upgraded its ratings on both stocks to Buy from Hold.
Internet, networking, and software stocks also moved to the upside on the day, while most of the other major sectors showed more modest moves.