Market Snapshot: U.S. stock futures struggle for direction as investors look ahead to inflation data

United States

U.S. stocks were indicated to trade tepidly on Tuesday, as investors kept watch on the global spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and searched for fresh catalysts to keep pushing equities higher. Energy prices, meanwhile, were rebounding from a sharp rout.

What are markets doing now?
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YM00, +0.05% were down 9 points, or less than 0.1%, at 34,989.
  • S&P 500 futures ES00, +0.06% were less than a point higher at 4,426.50.
  • Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, +0.12% climbed 13.25 points, or 0.1%, to 15,138.

On Monday, the Dow industrials DJIA, -0.30% fell 106.66 points, or 0.3%, to end at 35,101.85. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.09%  fell 4.17 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 4,432.35. The Nasdaq Composite Index  COMP, +0.16% rose 0.2% to close at 14,860.18, or 24.42 points higher.

What’s driving the market?

Stocks were set for modest moves Tuesday and indexes are still within striking distance of records, with the delta variant of coronavirus and its potential impact on global economic growth remaining in focus. Even a rebound for crude-oil prices from a three-week low on Monday wasn’t providing much inspiration.

Read: Commodity prices in retreat, with lower China imports likely here to stay, says forecaster

“Remember the big data point this week is tomorrow’s U.S. CPI number: forecast +0.4% vs +0.9% for June, while core is seen at +0.4% vs +0.9% in June. However, the jawboning we are seeing from Fed speakers already this week indicates that [Fed Chair] Jay Powell is ready to make the leap,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at, in a note to clients.

Wilson highlighted comments on Monday from Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, who said conditions were ripe to begin progressing with tapering the Fed’s bond purchases.

And Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said in an interview with The Associated Press late Monday that the central bank should announce in September that it will begin reducing its $ 120 billion in purchases of Treasury and mortgage bonds “this fall.”

U.S. small businesses confidence fell in July, after hitting the highest level since last November’s presidential election in June, according to a survey released by the National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday.

Stock futures didn’t see much movement after the government said U.S. productivity grew 2.3% in the second quarter after a revised 4.3% rise the previous three months.

Which companies are in focus?
  • Shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings AMC, +3.36% climbed nearly 10% in premarket trading after the movie-theater chain reported a narrower quarterly loss late Monday, and a deal with AT&T’s  T, -0.39%  Warner Bros. over showing its movies in theaters before streaming.
  • Casper Sleep Inc. CSPR, +0.14% on Tuesday reported a second-quarter loss that widened unexpectedly from a year ago, while revenue topped forecasts, as increased raw materials, freight and labor costs hampered the mattress and bedding company’s ability to meet demand.
What are other markets doing?
  • The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.312% rose 0.5 basis point to 1.318%. Yields and debt prices move in opposite directions.
  • The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, +0.19%, a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, rose 0.1%.
  • Oil futures bounced, with the U.S. benchmark CL00, +1.31% up 1.1% at $ 67.21 a barrel after ending at a three-week low in the previous session. Gold futures GC00, +0.08% edged higher, rising 0.1% to $ 1,728.30 an ounce.
  • In European equities, the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +0.30% rose 0.3%, while London’s FTSE 100 UKX, -0.01% was marginally higher.
  • Asian equities rose, with the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +1.01% up 1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +1.23% rose 1.2%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.24% edged up 0.2%.