MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Poised To Squeeze In A Gain As Strong July Closes Out

By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Pending home sales, Chicago PMI data ahead

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U.S. stock futures indicated a slightly firmer start for Wall Street on Monday, in what is shaping up to be the second-best month of the year for major indexes.

Fresh factory readings out of China were garnering attention, while U.S. data due later includes pending home sales and a regional manufacturing survey.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 41 points, or 0.2%, to 21,816, while S&P 500 futures added 0.95 points, or 0.1%, to 2,472.50. Nasdaq-100 index futures gained 6.25 points, or 0.1%, to 5,916.25.

The three big indexes finished slightly lower on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-tech-stocks-shape-up-for-another-day-of-selling-after-amazon-disappoints-2017-07-28), with the exception of the Dow industrials . That benchmark closed at an all-time high of 21,830.31, for a gain of 0.2%. For the week, the DJIA also outperformed, rising 1.2%, while the other major indexes logged modest losses.

July was shaping up to be the second-best month of the year, behind February, for the Dow and the S&P 500. With one more session to go, the DJIA is looking at a 2.25% monthly gain and the S&P 500 index at a rise of 2%.

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But technology stocks are set to log the best returns, with the Nasdaq Composite Index poised to rise 3.8%, which would mark the best month since January.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) may have a sway on how the rest of the week goes for tech stocks, and maybe the larger market, with the iPhone maker due to report results on Tuesday.

Read:Apple earnings: How long will iPhone sales be on 'pause'? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-earnings-how-long-will-iphone-sales-be-on-pause-2017-07-31)

U.S. stock futures were tracking gains in Europe and Asia. European mining stocks rose after data from China, a big buyer of industrial and precious metals, showed construction activity at its highest level since December 2013. But China manufacturing activity fell more than expected (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinas-pmi-numbers-fall-slightly-in-july-2017-07-30) in July, which hinted of a slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy.

Gold prices posted modest losses, though copper rose 1% to $2.904 a ton.

Economic docket: Investors will be looking ahead to the closely watched monthly jobs data, scheduled for release on Friday.

See:Ignoring Washington chaos, companies likely kept up strong hiring in July (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ignoring-washington-chaos-companies-likely-kept-up-strong-hiring-in-july-2017-07-30)

Data updates expected to arrive Monday includes the Chicago purchasing managers index for July, due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time, and pending home sales for June at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Stocks to watch: It's a quiet day on the earnings front, with Loews Corp.(L) the major release scheduled ahead of the open.

Shares of Tesla(TSLA) rose 1.8% in thin premarket trading. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk detailed the price of the Model 3 at a launch party on Friday evening, when he said reservations for the new model stood at more than 500,000 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/elon-musk-gets-the-35000-tesla-model-3-price-tag-he-wanted-but-extras-cost-more-2017-07-29). Tesla Inc. (TSLA) will report quarterly earnings on Wednesday.

Other markets: Oil futures were trading flat, but investors are keeping an eye on speculation the U.S. may step up sanctions against Venezuela (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-may-impose-sanctions-on-venezuelas-oil-industry-in-wake-of-controversial-election-2017-07-30) -- a major exporter of oil to the U.S. and a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. In a referendum over the weekend, President Nicolás Maduro's government claimed it has won (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/maduro-claims-victory-in-violent-venezuela-vote-but-count-is-disputed-2017-07-31) overwhelming powers to redraft Venezuela's constitution.

See:How Venezuela chaos could spark oil rally OPEC has failed to achieve (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-venezuela-could-spark-the-oil-rally-opec-has-failed-to-achieve-2017-07-26)

While European stocks were rising Monday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-gain-as-miners-strengthen-inflation-data-on-tap-2017-07-31), the Stoxx Europe 600 index was looking at a lackluster July finish. In Asia, stocks finished the day and month of July mostly higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-stocks-slip-to-end-mostly-positive-month-2017-07-30). The the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index rose 6% for the month.

The dollar was rebounding, with the ICE Dollar Index up 0.6%. But the index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, remained on course for the worst month since January (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-rebounds-but-stays-on-course-for-worst-month-since-january-2017-07-31).

Meanwhile, the dollar surged against the Russian ruble , to 59.944 from 59.514 last week. Russian President Vladimir Putin said 755 U.S. diplomats and staff would have to leave (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/russia-retaliates-for-looming-sanctions-boots-out-755-us-diplomats-2017-07-30) the country by September in retaliation for impending U.S. sanctions on Moscow.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 31, 2017 05:54 ET (09:54 GMT)