US Stock Futures Steady Ahead Of ISM Data

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The FINANCIAL — U.S. stock futures traded steady on Monday ahead of ISM manufacturing data, as investors eyed a mixed set of data from China, while European stock markets struggled as banks fell.


Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 11 points, or 0.4%, to 13,129. S&P 500 Index futures lost 0.3 point, to 1,402.90, while Nasdaq 100 futures fell 1 point to 2,749.50.

Kicking off the first trading day of the month and the new quarter, investors are awaiting ISM manufacturing data for March and construction spending for February, both due at 10 a.m. EDT.

"Interestingly the market is still expecting a modest gain in March's ISM even though most recent regional manufacturing surveys have disappointed relative to expectations–the latest of which being the Chicago PMI on Friday," Jim Reid, credit strategist at Deutsche Bank, said in a note to investors.

U.S. markets managed the biggest first-quarter gain in over a decade on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 8.1% in the period. For the Friday session, the Dow industrials rose 66.22 points, or 0.5%, to 13,212, helped by upbeat reports on personal spending and consumer sentiment.

Within other markets, Hong Kong stocks fell for a fourth straight session, while Japan shares traded higher after a downbeat tankan survey weighed on the yen. Gains in Seoul stemmed from a lift by Moody's Investors Service on its credit outlook.

Data were also released from China over the weekend, where an official survey on manufacturing showed a much better-than-expected March improvement, contrasting a separate survey from HSBC, which showed contraction in monthly activity.

According to Borsa Italiana – London Stock Exchange Group, european stocks kicked off the quarter on a weaker note, surrendering much of earlier gains, as banks drifted south. Losses were heaviest for Spanish and Italian stock markets, down more than 1% each, while the Stoxx Europe 600 index was flat at 263.20.

On the corporate front, shares of Groupon could see pressure. Shares tumbled in late-session trading on Friday after the company reduced its fiscal fourth-quarter sales and profit, though it kept its first-quarter outlook.

In other markets, crude oil for May delivery fell 33 cents, or 0.5%, to $102.54 a barrel. Gold for April delivery fell $3.50 to $1,665.80 an ounce.

The ICE dollar index, which measures the greenback's performance against a basket of six major global currencies, fell to 78.906 from 78.973 in late North American trade on Friday.



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