Stock futures open slightly higher

2021
08 / 03
05 : 50
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Stock futures open slightly higher Stock futures open slightly higher

Stock futures gained Monday evening to shake off earlier declines ahead of another batch of corporate earnings results.

Contracts on the S&P 500 ticked up after the blue-chip index ended a choppy session on Monday lower. The Dow had also closed out the regular trading day in the red, losing steam in the final hour of trading after reaching a record intraday high.

Shares of video game-maker Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) fell in late trading after the company's current-quarter forecast missed estimates, overshadowing an otherwise better-than-expected print on profit and sales for its latest quarter. Meanwhile, Simon Property Group (SPG) shares advanced after the company posted second-quarter results that handily exceeded estimates, raised its guidance and increased its dividend, with the mall real estate operator seeing occupancy rates and foot traffic improving alongside the reopening of the economy.  

Overall, the three major stock indexes have drifted in recent session as investors await more catalysts from corporate earnings results, economic data and policymakers.

"We're going through a couple of transitions right now at the same time," George Mateyo, Key Private Bank chief investment officer. "The first one, of course, is this deceleration in growth. We've seen this massive lift-off and growth since the pandemic."

"Secondly, we have to contend with the Fed and with their transition as well, both on the leadership side and also with respect to policy," he added. "And then third ... we've got the Delta variant as well to consider, in terms of transitioning potentially to a new wave of cases in the COVID-19 situation."

In terms of the growth outlook, Friday's July jobs report from the Labor Department will help provide a better sense of how much more ground the labor market has recovered this summer, and whether the economy is closing in on the threshold of recovery to prompt a pivot to the Federal Reserve's ultra-supportive monetary policy. And on Tuesday, companies including Lyft (LYFT), Match Group (MTCH) and Avis Budget Group (CAR) are slated to report quarterly results.

Despite Monday's drift, stocks are still holding close to record levels, supported by the combination of overall strong second-quarter earnings results, an ongoing economic recovery and still-accommodative Federal Reserve. Some strategists are cautioning investors to remain vigilant, however, given stocks' elevated valuations, and the relatively long stretch of time since equities' last pullback. U.S. stocks have gone more than 180 trading days without a 5% correction, in one of the 15 longest stretches for the equity market without such a pullback, according to recent research from Goldman Sachs.  

"There was almost a level of perfection priced into the market coming into the summer, and a reopening that was really strong as well," Ross Mayfield, Baird investment strategy analyst." I do think there's a lot of things working against the market near-term both from a technical and fundamental perspective. And I wouldn't be surprised to see some volatility and maybe a bit of a correction here in the near-term before resuming what should still be a really strong structural bull market."

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