Wall St set for muted open as investors await more policy cues

  • Reuters
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Wall St set for muted open as investors await more policy cues
Credit: © Reuters.

By Shristi Achar A and Amruta Khandekar

(Reuters) -U.S. stocks were poised for a subdued open on Monday, ahead of a key inflation reading and commentary from Federal Reserve policymakers later in the week, while retailers were in focus as holiday shopping picked up steam with Cyber Monday deals.

Wall Street ended the Thanksgiving week on a positive note, with the major indexes notching up their fourth consecutive week of gains on growing optimism that the Federal Reserve was likely done hiking interest rates.

The rebound in equities in November has brought the S&P 500 within 1% of its highest intra-day level this year.

At 8:31 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 52 points, or 0.15%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.25 points, or 0.09%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 2.25 points, or 0.01%.

"What we're seeing is just a little bit of hesitancy as the market prepares for a heavy reporting calendar week," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities.

"We are headed for a mixed session today...maybe something like profit taking at the beginning and then just a leveling off."

Investors are awaiting the release of "Beige Book", the Fed's compendium of reports about the economy, and the personal consumption expenditure index data for October - the Fed's preferred inflation gauge - during the week, which would help give clues about the Fed's next rate decision.

Traders have priced in the possibility of a pause in rate hikes in December, and see an about 55% chance of a rate cut of at least 25-basis points in May 2024, according to the CME Group's (NASDAQ: CME ) FedWatch Tool.

The focus will also be on a host of Fed officials due to speak at different conferences this week, with Chair Jerome Powell expected to participate in a fireside chat on Friday.

Latest data showed profits at China's industrial firms grew at a slower pace, indicating the need for more policy support measures to help shore up growth in the world's second-largest economy.

Meanwhile on Monday, U.S. retailers were on the radar after Black Friday and as Cyber Monday kicks off with shoppers expected to spend a record $12 billion to $12.4 billion.

Shares of Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT ) edged up 1.1% and 0.4%, respectively, before the bell.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., October 27, 2023.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Among other stocks, Crown Castle International (NYSE: CCI ) added 5.5% as activist investor Elliott Investment Management, also a major shareholder, sought new executive and board changes at the wireless tower owner

GE HealthCare (NASDAQ: GEHC ) lost 3.0% after UBS downgraded the medical devices maker to "sell" from "neutral."

 

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