MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Poised For Lackluster Open, But Monthly Gains Look Intact

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Dollar set to break six-month losing run

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U.S. stock futures struggled to push higher Friday, but equities remained on track for monthly and quarterly gains, with investors looking ahead to inflation data and a reading on consumer sentiment for possible cues.

What are stock-index futures doing?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are down 12 points, or less than 0.1%, at 22,308, while those for the S&P 500 index are off 1.2 points, or less than 0.1%, 2,506.75. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index are rising 8.5 points, or 0.1%, to 5,947.

For the trading month, which wraps up after the close on Friday, the Dow average was eyeing a 2% gain, the S&P 500 , a 1.6% advance and the Nasdaq Composite Index , a 0.4% rise, as of Thursday's close.

As for the quarter, the Dow was on track for a 4.83% gain as of Thursday's close, while the S&P 500 is heading for a rise of 3.58%. The Nasdaq is looking at an advance of 5.1%.

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On Thursday, stocks in the U.S. posted slight gains (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-may-struggle-for-direction-as-investors-await-gdp-more-fed-speakers-2017-09-28), but enough to record a trio of all-time highs for three closely followed benchmarks: the Russell 2000 , Dow transports and the S&P 500.

What are market participants saying?

"The month of September has brought good news for the U.S. equity markets as President Trump announced the initial framework on tax reforms," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst, at Think Markets UK, in a note.

"The tightening of monetary policy by the Fed has also started to play its role, and the dollar is looking much firmer on the back of this. Having said that, the prospects of another rate hike for this year aren't that solid yet, as we do think that the chances of another rate hike for this year are still 50%," he added.

The ICE Dollar Index is set to break a six-month losing streak, up 0.4% for September. For the quarter, the index was looking at a 2.7% loss, however. On Friday, the greenback index was up down 0.05% at 93.044.

What's driving the market?

Traders are trying to find their footing after a week marked by hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and the long-awaited announcement on tax reform from the Trump administration.

Republicans say the proposed tax cuts could fuel stronger economic growth, and that could help stock markets reach new highs. However, analysts caution that the plan still has to get approved by Congress and the administration has previously struggled to get bills passed by legislators, such as the much-discussed health care bill.

Read:Get set for a 'favorable' backdrop for stocks until at least 2019, says Blackstone's Wien (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/get-set-for-a-favorable-backdrop-for-stocks-until-at-least-2019-says-blackstones-wien-2017-09-29)

What are investors watching out for today?

A raft of economic data, starting with personal income, consumer spending and core inflation at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. All the reports are for August.

At 9:45 a.m. Eastern, the Chicago purchasing managers index for September is scheduled for release, followed by consumer sentiment for the same month at 10 a.m. Eastern.

On the Fed docket, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker is lined up to give a speech at 11 a.m. Eastern, covering the economic outlook as well as on fintech at a conference at his regional bank.

Which stocks are Wall Street following?

Zogenix Inc. (ZGNX) shares soared 208% in premarket on news of a positive trial (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/zogenix-says-late-stage-trial-of-treatment-for-rare-form-of-epilepsy-met-its-main-goal-2017-09-29) for its drug to treat a rare type of epilepsy.

Amazon.com Inc.-owned Whole Foods(AMZN) said late Thursday that hackers tried to steal data from its credit-card-swiping machines (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/whole-foods-says-hackers-tried-to-steal-data-from-credit-card-swiping-machines-2017-09-29). Amazon shares, however, were up 0.3% ahead of the bell.

Shares of Tesla Inc.(TSLA) were up nearly 1% in premarket, even though shares of the electric-car maker are nearing their second-straight week of losses, (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-shares-are-facing-a-second-straight-week-of-losses-2017-09-28) down 3.5% with one session to go on Friday.

Read:Elon Musk unveils 'Mars City,' says his spaceship will take you 'anywhere on earth in under an hour' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/elon-musk-unveils-mars-city-says-his-spaceship-will-take-you-anywhere-on-earth-in-under-an-hour-2017-09-29)

Shares of Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) could also move after the food company late Thursday raised its outlook (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tyson-shares-jump-after-company-ups-outlook-announces-layoffs-2017-09-28)and announced a restructuring that includes layoffs.

Read:Pier 1, Sherwin-Williams, Southwest issue profit and sales warnings on hurricanes, earthquakes (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pier-1-sherwin-williams-southwest-issue-profit-and-sales-warnings-on-hurricanes-earthquakes-2017-09-28)

What are other assets doing?

Asian stock markets (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikkei-on-pace-for-its-best-month-of-2017-2017-09-28) closed mostly higher, while European markets were struggling for direction (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-set-for-best-month-of-2017-2017-09-29).

Oil prices were slightly lower, while all metals except copper advanced.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 29, 2017 08:15 ET (12:15 GMT)