U.S. Stocks May Give Back Ground In Early Trading

After moving mostly higher last week, stocks are likely to give back ground in early trading on Monday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 136 points.

Concerns about the outlook for the global economy may weigh on the markets following the release of disappointing Chinese data.

Chinese industrial production and retail sales growth slowed in July, suggesting a slowdown in the economic recovery amid new COVID-19 outbreaks and supply chain disruptions.

Industrial production growth slowed to 6.4 percent in July from 8.3 percent in June, data from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed. Output was expected to gain 7.8 percent.

Retail sales grew at a slower pace of 8.5 percent on a yearly basis following a 12.1 percent spike in June. This was also weaker than the economists’ forecast of 11.5 percent.

Negative sentiment may also be generated in reaction to a report from the New York Federal Reserve showing New York manufacturing activity saw significantly slower growth in the month of August.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index plunged to 18.3 in August from 43.0 in July. While a positive reading still indicates growth, economists had expected the index to show a much more modest drop to 30.0.

Trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, as traders look ahead to closely watched reports on U.S. retail sales and industrial production as well the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting.

U.S. stocks ended roughly flat on Friday despite the Dow and the S&P 500 both climbing to fresh record highs early on in the session.

Data showing a significant drop in U.S. consumer sentiment, and concerns about the impact of surging cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus on growth outweighed buoyant earnings updates from some top notch companies.

The Dow, which rose to 35,610.57 in early trading, ended the session at 35,515.38, gaining 15.53 points or less than a tenth of a percent. The S&P 500 ended up by 7.17 points or 0.2 percent at 4,468.00, while the Nasdaq settled with a gain of 6.64 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 14,822.90.

The Dow gained about 0.9 percent for the week and the S&P 500 added 0.7 percent, while the Nasdaq edged down 0.1 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.6 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid by 0.8 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has slumped by 1.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.8 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 0.5 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are plummeting $1.99 to $66.45 barrel after falling $0.65 to $68.44 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, after surging $26.40 to $1,778.20 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are rising $2.40 to $1,780.60 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.26 yen versus the 109.59 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.1775 compared to last Friday’s $1.1797.

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