Nasdaq tips higher, sets new intraday all-time peak
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U.S. stock benchmarks on Monday traded mostly lower at the open, pulled back in to negative territory by a slump in bank and consumer-discretionary shares, but technology shares extended their gains deeper into record territory. Investors also are awaiting a week that will see an updated policy statement from the Federal Reserve and a key employment report on Friday.
What are stock-index futures doing?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 46 points or 0.2%, to 23,387, weighed by components Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK), and 3M Co. (MMM). Meanwhile, the S&P 500 fell 5 points, or 0.2%, to 2,576.
The Nasdaq Composite Index briefly set a fresh intraday record and was most recently trading up 0.2% at 6,711.35.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite, closed at records on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-microsoft-alphabet-set-to-power-nasdaq-higher-after-blowout-results-2017-10-27), fueled tech stocks after Amazon.com Inc.(AMZN), and Microsoft Corp.(MSFT) results, among others. The Dow added 33.33 points, or 0.1%, at 23,434.19.
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What could drive the markets?
Investors will also be awaiting President Donald Trump's decision on who will lead the Fed after Chairwoman Janet Yellen's term expires in February. A report Friday said Trump is leaning toward choosing Fed Gov. Jerome Powell (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-leaning-toward-appointing-powell-to-fed-report-2017-10-27).
Meanwhile, the Federal meets Tuesday and Wednesday. . No changes to monetary policy are expected, but the statement at the conclusion of the meeting will be closely watched for clues on whether policy makers intend to go ahead with a widely expected December increase in interest rates. Bank of Japan and Bank of England also will have monetary policy meetings.
Read: Manafort told to surrender to federal authorities: report (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/manafort-told-to-surrender-to-federal-authorities-report-2017-10-30)
Beyond central banks, any further developments on U.S. tax reforms will hold investor attention. Republicans expect to unveil a much-awaited bill to overhaul the tax code Wednesday. The National Association of Home Builders is set to offer opposition (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/house-republicans-tax-overhaul-bill-to-be-opposed-by-home-builder-trade-group-2017-10-29).
What are the data?
Consumer spending leapt 1% in September, the biggest gain since early mid-2009, just as the current economic recovery got under way. Personal income rose 0.4%, but the savings rate fell to 3.1%, the lowest level since December 2007.
The personal-consumption-expenditure index, or PCE, the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge, increased 0.4% in September, while the closely followed "core" rate, that strips out food and energy, rose 0.1%.
Read:Apple engineer reportedly fired over daughter's viral video of iPhone X (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-engineer-reportedly-fired-over-daughters-viral-video-of-iphone-x-2017-10-29)
Also read: Why stock-market bulls should be wary of rising tide of earnings shenanigans (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-stock-market-bulls-should-be-wary-of-rising-tide-of-earnings-shenanigans-2017-10-28)
What are analysts saying?
"Financial markets have begun a key week of economic data and central bank decisions with a cautious tone today. In the coming days there will be some key risk events with a series of major central banks announcing monetary policy, including the Fed, the Bank of Japan and a potential historic rate hike from the Bank of England," said Richard Perry, market analyst at Hantec Markets, in a note.
Check out:Fed statement may have treats for the hawks and the doves (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-statement-may-have-treats-for-both-hawks-and-doves-2017-10-27)
Opinion:Trump-Ryan tax plan will encourage more corporate offshore tax avoidance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-ryan-tax-plan-will-encourage-more-corporate-offshore-tax-avoidance-2017-10-24)
Which stocks are in focus?
Shares of CalAtlantic Group Inc.(CAA) soared 23% after the home builder said it plans to merge with peer Lennar Corp (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/home-builders-lennar-calatlantic-to-merge-in-9-billion-deal-2017-10-30).(LEN) in a deal worth about $9.3 billion, including $3.6 billion in assumed net debt. Lennar shares slipped 2.3%.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.(WMT) fell 0.7%. The head of the company's U.K. chain Asda, Sean Clarke (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ceo-of-wal-marts-uk-chain-asda-to-leave-at-end-of-year-2017-10-30), will leave his post on Dec. 31 and will be followed by Roger Burnley.
Dynegy Inc.(DYN) jumped 14% after the energy company said it is merging with Vista Energy in a deal that would value the combined entities at more than $10 billion.
Akzo Nobel NV(AKZOY) (AKZOY) and U.S. rival Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. (AXTA) said they are in talks to merge (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/akzo-nobel-axalta-confirm-merger-talks-2017-10-30) (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/akzo-nobel-axalta-confirm-merger-talks-2017-10-30). Akzo Nobel shares rose 0.7% in Amsterdam, while Axalta shares rose 1.9%.
Shares of Huntsman Corp.(HUN) rose 0.3%. Activist U.S. investors, who helped scuttle a proposed merger between Huntsman and Swiss chemicals company Clariant (CLN.EB), said they would try to seek a seat on Clariant's board of directors and push for more changes (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/activist-investors-seek-clariant-board-seat-2017-10-30).
U.S.-listed shares of HSBC Holdings PLC(HSBA.LN) fell 1.2% even after the bank said it swung to a third-quarter net profit of $3.24 billion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hsbc-holdings-swings-to-324-billion-profit-2017-10-30).
What are other markets doing?
The ICE Dollar Index was down 0.2% to 94.676, with slight losses against the euro .
And:Is the euro rally toast after ECB unveils dovish bond-buying cutback? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/is-the-euro-rally-toast-after-ecb-unveils-dovish-bond-buying-reduction-2017-10-26)
Oil prices were rising (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brent-pushes-further-above-60-as-oil-rally-continues-2017-10-30), up 39 cents, or less than 0.8%, to $54.33 a barrel, while gold (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-clings-to-narrow-gain-as-strong-dollar-pauses-its-climb-2017-10-30) was modestly higher, up 0.2% at $1,274.10 an ounce.
Stocks in Europe opened flat, but Spanish stocks rallied 1.5%. Spain's central government is taking control of Catalonia after removing the region's president Carles Puigdemont and calling for new elections on Dec. 21 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/spain-seizes-power-as-tension-mounts-in-independence-bent-catalonia-2017-10-28). (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/spain-seizes-power-as-tension-mounts-in-independence-bent-catalonia-2017-10-28) Hundreds of thousands of pro-unity demonstrators rallied in Catalonia on Sunday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hundreds-of-thousands-of-pro-unity-demonstrators-rally-in-catalonia-2017-10-29).
Stocks in Asia finishedmostly fell (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-rally-thanks-to-tech-stock-gains-2017-10-29), with Chines stocks dented in part by a bond selloff.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 30, 2017 09:52 ET (13:52 GMT)