U.S. Stocks May Give Back Ground Following Last Week’s Rally

Stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Monday following the strong upward move seen last week. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly lower open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures down by 0.2 percent.

Profit taking may contribute to initial weakness on Wall Street, as some traders look to cash in on the recent strength in the markets.

With the upward move seen last Friday, the Dow reached a nearly three-month closing high, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 jumped to their best closing levels in almost two months.

Trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, with a lack of major U.S. economic data likely to keep some traders on the sidelines.

Reports on producer prices, retail sales, import and export prices, industrial production, housing starts and existing home sales are likely to attract attention in the coming days.

Traders are likely to look to the reports for additional clues about the strength of the economy and the outlook for interest rates.

Following the remarkable rally seen over the course of Thursday’s session, stock saw further upside during trading on Friday.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq surged 209.18 points or 1.9 percent to 11,323.33 and the S&P 500 shot up 36.56 points or 0.9 percent to 3,992.93.

Meanwhile, the Dow underperformed due to steep losses by UnitedHealth (UNH) and Merck (MRK) but still crept up 32.49 points or 0.1 percent to 33,747.86.

For the week, the Nasdaq skyrocketed by 8.1 percent, the S&P 500 soared by 5.9 percent and the Dow jumped 4.2 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has climbed by 0.5 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both up by 0.4 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $0.76 to $88.20 a barrel after surging $2.49 to $88.96 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, after climbing $15.70 to $1,769.40 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are slipping $6.80 to $1,762.60 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 140.31 yen versus the 138.81 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0316 compared to last Friday’s $1.0347.

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