Stock futures rise earlier in the week, with the S&P 500 set to break its record


A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, USA on Monday, August 23, 2021.

Michael Nagel | Bloomberg | Getty Images

US stock futures rose slightly on Monday as investors prepared for the final trading days of August.

Dow Jones Industrial average futures rose 21 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.1% and Nasdaq 100 futures traded 0.2% higher.

Monday and Tuesday mark the last two trading days in August. So far, the S&P 500 is up 2.6% in August. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite rose 1.5% and 3.1% respectively that month.

Key technology stocks were higher in pre-trading. AMD and Nvidia were about 1% higher. Amazon and Microsoft were also higher.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed at all-time highs on Friday as investors breathed a sigh of relief after Fed chairman Jerome Powell signaled that bonds could expire this year, but the central bank is in no rush to lock rates raise.

Powell said inflation is solidly around the central bank’s 2% target rate, one of the targets of the Fed’s dual mandate; However, the Fed chairman also explained why he continues to believe that the current rise in inflation is temporary and will eventually decline to target levels.

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Based on statements from other Fed officials, the announcement could be cut back at the Fed’s September 21-22 meeting. Powell said the central bank had “a lot of ground to overcome” in order to achieve its other goal of maximum employment.

“With record GDP and earnings growth, rising inflation and highs in infection rates of the Delta variant, the Fed will feel more pressure to lift what is essentially the emergency monetary policy adjustment,” wrote Mike Wilson of Morgan Stanley, who will soon see a correction of 10 % sees the market. “We expect a more formal signal from the Fed at the FOMC meeting in September and the markets will likely anticipate it. That means higher rates and lower stock valuations.”

Stocks could stay broadly in range until Friday’s August job report release. Economists polled by Dow Jones estimate that 750,000 jobs were created in August and the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.2%.

Friday’s gains contributed to a strong week for major averages. The Dow closed 0.9% while the S&P 500 added 1.5% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 2.8% last week.

With the Fed’s meeting in Jackson Hole looking back, investors are now focusing on the performance of stocks for the final months of the year. The S&P 500 is up more than 20% in 2021, but the market is also absorbing top policy momentum, top profit accelerations, and top reopening momentum.

Oil futures were lower and gasoline futures were slightly higher than a minimal reaction to Hurricane Ida, which hit land over the weekend.

Cloudera and Zoom Video will report earnings after the bell on Monday.