Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during morning trading on August 31, 2023 in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images
Stock futures are mixed Monday night as the market looks to maintain momentum in the holiday-shortened week.
Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 49 points, or 0.14%. S&P 500 futures were lower by 1 point, or 0.02%, while Nasdaq 100 futures gained 11.75 points, or 0.08%.
The moves follow an upbeat week for Wall Street, with the Dow and the Nasdaq notching their best performances since July. The 30-stock Dow and the Nasdaq added 1.4% and about 3.3% for the week. The S&P 500 gained 2.5% to register its best week since June.
Traders last week were weighing new signs of a slowing economy and easing pricing pressures. The latest U.S. nonfarm payrolls report showed the unemployment rate ticked higher to 3.8% in August, reaching its highest level in more than a year. Economists had expected it to remain at 3.5%. Average hourly earnings also increased 4.3% on a year-over-year basis, less than the 4.4% increase expected by economists polled by Dow Jones.
“That [report] raises the critical short-term question for investors, can the labor market slow sufficiently, while inflation also decelerates, allowing the Federal Reserve to halt its policy rate hiking and keep rates stable for a while? It does appear as if slack in the labor force is growing,” said Rick Rieder, chief investment officer of global fixed income at BlackRock.
Investors could also be looking at a challenging month ahead for stocks. September is historically the weakest month for equities, and investors will be sifting through economic reports—including fresh inflation data—ahead of the Fed’s September policy meeting. Central bank policymakers will have a two-day meeting starting Sept. 19 and announce their interest rate decision Sept. 20.
Still, some technical indicators gave investors hope last week. In a sign of positive short-term momentum, the major indexes broke above their respective 50-day moving averages this past week.
“Investors are feeling more optimistic because we’re back in an ascent mode and upward trend,” Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA, told CNBC last week. He added, “At least in the near term, I think that the U.S. equity markets could continue to climb even in the face of a relatively challenging month.”
— Sarah Min contributed to this report.