MARKET SNAPSHOT: S&P 500 Set To Edge Higher, But Facing First Monthly Loss Since March

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Data deluge: Readings due on inflation, jobless claims, housing market and more

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U.S. stock futures pointed to a small rise at the open Thursday, putting the S&P 500 on track to wrap up August on a low-key note and suffer its first monthly drop since March.

Investors are waiting for a report covering personal income, consumer spending and core inflation, as well as fresh data on jobless claims, the housing market and the Chicago area's business conditions.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 59 points, or 0.3%, to 21,930.00, while S&P 500 futures rose by 6.45 points, or 0.3%, to 2,462.25, Nasdaq-100 futures tacked on 14.75 points, or 0.3%, to 5,949.75.

On Wednesday, the Dow , S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all closed higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sp-500-aims-for-4th-up-session-in-a-row-as-traders-wait-for-gdp-report-2017-08-30) after strong readings on U.S. economic growth and private-sector jobs, with the S&P rising for a fourth straight session.

With one day to go in August, the Dow is flat for the month, while the S&P is 0.5% lower and the Nasdaq is up by 0.3%. If the Dow and S&P end up in the red for August, that would be the first monthly drop since March for each gauge. For the year, the blue-chip barometer is up 11%, while the S&P has climbed 10%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq has surged 18%.

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Equities and other assets viewed as relatively risky have stabilized after a late-August slump thanks in part to that better-than-expected U.S. data (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-economic-growth-hits-3-rate-in-second-quarter-2017-08-30) and a stronger-than-anticipated reading on Chinese manufacturing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinas-official-manufacturing-pmi-beats-forecasts-2017-08-30) out Thursday, according to Richard Perry, a Hantec Markets analyst.

"Traders will be looking at today's inflation data, but will also be increasingly keeping an eye on tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls data, with anticipation improving in the wake of the strong ADP employment change (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/private-sector-job-growth-surges-in-august-adp-says-2017-08-30) yesterday," Perry said in a note.

Data deluge: A July report on personal income, consumer spending and core inflation is due to hit at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, with economists polled by MarketWatch forecasting growth of 0.4% for both income and outlays, plus a 0.1% rise for inflation.

See:August jobs data is crucial test for U.S. dollar (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/august-jobs-data-marks-crucial-test-for-us-dollar-2017-08-30)

At that same time, a release on weekly jobless claims is expected to show 235,000 claims.

At 9:45 a.m. Eastern, investors are slated to get an August reading on business conditions in the Chicago area, then July pending home sales are set to arrive at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

Other markets:U.S. oil prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gasoline-futures-soar-above-2-as-refiners-stay-shut-after-harvey-2017-08-31) rose and gasoline futures jumped above $2 a gallon on Thursday, as flooding due to Tropical Storm Harvey continued to wreck havoc on refineries along the Gulf Coast.

European stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-advance-as-miners-shine-but-head-for-monthly-loss-2017-08-31) advanced but were headed for another monthly drop, while Asian markets finished mostly higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikkei-leads-asian-market-gains-following-strong-growth-in-us-2017-08-30). Gold futures and the ICE U.S. Dollar Index were little changed.

Earnings reports: Retailer Dollar General Corp.(DG) and food giant Campbell Soup Co.(CPB) are among the companies expected to post quarterly results before the open.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 31, 2017 05:31 ET (09:31 GMT)