MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stock Futures Hunt For A Catalyst, With Nasdaq Poised For A Weekly Win

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Purchasing manager data, Fed speakers on deck

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U.S. stock futures struggled to find clear direction Friday, as the Nasdaq looked set for a winning week, as investors awaited economic data and speeches by Federal Reserve policy makers.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were off 7 points, or less than 0.1%, to 21,341. S&P 500 futures rose 2.8 points, or 0.1%, to 2,434.60. Nasdaq-100 futures were up 0.5 point at 5,786.25.

Friday is expected to be one of the busiest trading sessions of the year as traders adjust their stock portfolios in response to FTSE Russell's annual rebalancing of indexes. At the same time, bank shares should be in focus after the Federal Reserve released the results of stress tests.

On Thursday, the major U.S. indexes finished mostly lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-face-a-struggle-to-pull-out-of-oil-driven-selloff-2017-06-22). Consumer staples and financial shares led losses on the S&P 500 , which ended down by 1.11 points at 2,434.50. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 12.74 points to end at 21,397.29. But the Nasdaq Composite Index ended up 2.73 points at 6,236.69, driven by a rally in biotech shares (IBB).

As of the close Thursday, the Nasdaq was on course to rise 1.4% for the week, ending a two-week run of losses. The S&P 500 and the Dow industrials are on track for weekly rises of 0.1% each, even after oil's entry into a bear market weighed on those benchmarks.

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U.S. oil futures and Brent crude prices are slightly higher Friday, but are heading for their fifth week of declines (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-edge-up-as-big-producers-stick-to-cuts-2017-06-23-6103497).

Sectors to watch: Financial stocks (KBE) will be watched for signs of an upturn after the results of the Fed's first round of annual stress tests of big banks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-stress-tests-show-banks-could-withstand-a-deep-downturn-2017-06-22) was released Thursday. The 34 banks have "strong" levels of capital and would be able to keep lending even during a severe recession, the Fed said. The second set of results, which outline which banks may return capital to investors, are due next week.

Health-care shares are in focus after big gains Thursday. Those moves came after Republican senators released a health-care bill draft (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/senate-republicans-unveil-new-health-care-bill-2017-06-22) that includes cuts to Medicaid and the elimination of penalties for people who don't buy health insurance.

Economic docket: A preliminary reading on purchasing managers' indexes on manufacturing in June is due from Markit at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time, with the flash services PMI for the same month arriving at the same time.

"Figures today are expected to print slightly lower...but a bearish reading could act as a prelude to next week's more important reports," said ADS Securities researcher Konstantinos Anthis in a note. "Analysts' expectations are set for weaker U.S. consumer confidence and personal consumption levels."

At 10 a.m. Eastern, a report on new home sales in May is expected to show an increase to 590,000 from 569,000 the previous month. See: MarketWatch's economic calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic).

There are three Fed speakers on the list Friday. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is scheduled to talk about the economy and monetary policy to the Illinois Bankers Association at 11:15 a.m. Eastern, in Nashville, Tenn.

Then at 12:40 p.m. Eastern, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will give a speech in Cleveland on community development at an economic summit on housing, human capital and inequality.

That will be followed at 2:15 p.m. Eastern by Fed Governor Jerome Powell's speech in Chicago on central clearing and liquidity at a Chicago Fed symposium.

Stocks in focus:BlackBerry Ltd.(BB.T) sank more than 9% ahead of the bell after the software and services company swung to an unexpected quarterly profit but its sales fell short of expectations. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/blackberrys-stock-sinks-as-surprise-profit-offset-by-sales-miss-2017-06-23)

Synchronoss Technologies Inc. shares (SNCR) surged 36% ahead of the bell after the private equity firm Siris Capital Group and its associates offered to purchase the cloud-services provider for $18 a share in cash.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. shares (BBBY) dropped morethan 10% premarket after the home furnishings and accessories retailer late Thursday posted fiscal first-quarter earnings and sales that missed expectations. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bed-bath-beyond-shares-tank-after-earnings-sales-miss-2017-06-22)

Other markets: The ICE Dollar Index , which measures the dollar against a basket of six currencies, was off 0.2%. Stock markets in Asia finished mostly higher, with the Nikkei Stock Average logging a modest gain.

Gold was up 0.7%. European stocks edged down. European Union leaders were meeting in Brussels on Friday, with Brexit a key topic one year after the U.K. voted to leave the bloc.

Read:Brexit's impact on markets and the U.K., 1 year after the vote--in charts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brexits-impact-on-markets-and-the-uk-one-year-after-the-vote-in-charts-2017-06-23)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 23, 2017 09:13 ET (13:13 GMT)