Traders Focus on Washington Ahead of Key Vote
By Investors Hub
The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a lower opening on Monday, with stocks likely to extend the pullback seen last week. The downward momentum on Wall Street comes amid weakness overseas following the decision by Republican leaders to withdraw their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
With traders keeping a close eye on developments on Capitol Hill, stocks saw some volatility over the course of the trading session on Friday. The major averages eventually ended the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line.
While the Nasdaq crept up 11.04 points or 0.2 percent to 5,828.74, the Dow fell 59.86 points or 0.3 percent to 20,596.72 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.98 points or 0.1 percent to 2,343.98.
Despite the mixed performance on the day, the major averages all moved notably lower for the week. The Dow slumped by 1.5 percent, the Nasdaq slid by 1.2 percent and the S&P 500 tumbled by 1.4 percent.
The volatility on Wall Street came as the House prepared to vote on a Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Late in the trading day, House Republican leaders decided to withdraw the bill amid indications of a lack of support.
The move came despite vigorous efforts by President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to build support for the legislation.
A number of more conservative lawmakers opposed the bill amid criticism that it did not go far enough to repeal the provisions of Obamacare.
Moderate Republicans were also concerned about predictions the plan would cause millions of people to lose their insurance.
Even if the Republican healthcare bill had been approved by the House, the legislation was expected to face an even tougher uphill battle in the Senate.
The inability to advance the bill could cast doubt on Trump’s ability to deliver on promises of increased infrastructure spending, tax cuts and deregulation.
On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing a bigger than expected increase in durable goods orders in the month of February.
The report said durable goods orders jumped by 1.7 percent in February after surging up by a revised 2.3 percent in January.
Economists had expected orders to climb by 1.2 percent compared to the 2.0 percent spike that had been reported for the previous month.
Excluding orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders rose by 0.4 percent in February after edging up by 0.2 percent in January. The increase fell short of estimates for 0.6 percent growth.
Extending the trend seen over the past few sessions, most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves.
Steel stocks saw considerable weakness, however, with the NYSE Arca Steel Index slumping by 1.4 percent. With the drop, the index fell to its lowest closing level in well over two months.
On the other hand, airline stocks moved notably higher, resulting in a 1 percent advance by the NYSE Arca Airline Index. Hawaiian Airlines parent Hawaiian Holdings (HA) posted a standout gain.