U.S. Stocks May Move Modestly Higher In Early Trading

After moving modestly higher last week, stocks may see some further upside in early trading on Monday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a slightly higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 0.2 percent.

The upward momentum on Wall Street comes as traders look ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

The Fed is widely expected to pause its recent interest rate increases but is also likely to reiterate its commitment to bringing inflation down to its 2 percent target.

CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is currently indicating a 73.6 percent chance the Fed will leave rates unchanged but a 52.3 percent chance of another quarter point rate hike next month.

The Fed’s accompanying statement is likely to have a significant impact on the outlook for rates along with some closely watched inflation data due to be released in the coming days.

Stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Friday before eventually ending the day modestly higher. With the uptick on the day, the S&P 500 reached its best closing level since mid-August.

The major averages swung back and forth before closing slightly above the unchanged line. The Nasdaq rose 20.62 points or 0.2 percent to 13,259.14, the S&P 500 crept up 4.93 points or 0.1 percent to 4,298.86 and the Dow inched up 43.17 points or 0.1 percent to 33,876.78.

For the week, the Nasdaq edged up by 0.1 percent, while the Dow and the S&P 500 climbed by 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped by 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.5 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.7 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are plunging $1.85 to $68.32 a barrel after slumping $1.12 to $70.17 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, after edging down $1.40 to $1,977.20 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are edging up $2.40 to $1,979.60 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 139.23 yen versus the 139.40 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0761 compared to last Friday’s $1.0749.

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