MARKET SNAPSHOT: Nasdaq Ready To Lead U.S. Stocks Up, End October On A High Note

By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Mastercard, Aetna, Pfizer, Archer Daniels to report earnings

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Optimism appeared to be building around technology stocks on Tuesday, as U.S. futures pointed to gains at the open led by Nasdaq Composite, as a powerful month for equities drew to a close.

The economic calendar is busy, with the Federal Reserve kicking off the start of its two-day meeting, while investors will also get fresh data on house prices and consumer sentiment later.

What are stock-index futures doing?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 17 points to 23,308, while those for the S&P 500 index gained 2.95 points, or 0.1%, to 2,571.25. Meanwhile, Nasdaq-100 index futures rose 15.25 points or 0.3%, to 6,239.50.

U.S. stocks finished lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-set-to-catch-their-breath-after-last-weeks-blowout-gains-2017-10-30) on Monday after a report that the House of Representatives may phase in a cut to corporate taxes, rather than immediately enact it.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 85.45 points, or 0.4%, to hit 23,348.74, while the S&P 500 index fell 8.24 points, or 0.3%, to 2,572.83. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index set a fresh intraday record, but lost 2.30 points to reach 6,698.96.

Read: The Dow just logged its longest period without a 1% intraday move since 1930 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-dow-just-logged-its-longest-period-without-a-1-drop-in-nearly-40-years-2017-10-30)

With one session left to go in September, the Dow industrials is poised for a 4.2% gain, while the S&P 500 is looking at a rise of around 2%. That would be the best month since February 2017 for each index. The Nasdaq Composite is set to move just over 3% higher, for its best advance since July 2017.

Check out:Here's a lower-risk strategy for an expensive stock market (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-a-lower-risk-strategy-for-an-expensive-stock-market-2017-10-30)

What could drive the markets?

The pace of earnings releases picks up on Tuesday. On the docket ahead of the market open are Aetna (AET) , Pfizer Inc.(PFE) , Mastercard (MA) , Under Armour Inc.(UAA) , Archer Daniels Midland Co.(ADM)(ADM) , Kellogg Co.(K) and HCA Healthcare Inc.(HCA) .

Electronic Arts Inc.(EA) and U.S. Steel Corp.(X) are scheduled to report after the close.

Big tech earnings are a just a day away, with Tesla Inc (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-earnings-model-3-production-demand-under-the-microscope-again-2017-10-25).(TSLA) and Facebook Inc (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-earnings-two-ways-the-social-networking-titan-can-grow-even-larger-2017-10-30).(FB) both due to report Wednesday. Shares of Apple Inc. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-earnings-iphone-x-supply-is-the-question-but-the-answer-may-not-matter-2017-10-30)(AAPL) , which reports Thursday, closed Monday at a record high of $166.72 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-closes-at-record-high-market-cap-tops-860-billion-2017-10-30) on optimism ahead of those results.

Read: EarningsWatch -- Apple, Tesla and Facebook are post-Halloween treats (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/earningswatch-apple-tesla-and-facebook-are-post-halloween-treats-2017-10-30)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/earningswatch-apple-tesla-and-facebook-are-post-halloween-treats-2017-10-30)A number of economic reports are due. The third-quarter employment cost index should come at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, forecast to rise to 0.7% from 0.5% the previous quarter. That's followed by the Case-Shiller home price index for August at 9 a.m. Eastern.

The Chicago purchasing managers' index for October is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. Eastern. The consumer confidence index for the same month is due at 10 a.m. Eastern, and it is forecast to rise to 121.3 from 119.8 in September.

See:MarketWatch's economic calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

The two-day Federal Reserve meeting, which isn't expected to yield any changes to monetary policy, begins Tuesday. Investors will watch for clues on whether the Fed will go ahead with a widely expected December interest rate increase.

Read: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)

As to the next Fed chief, President Donald Trump will reveal his choice Thursday, a White House official said (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-to-announce-his-pick-for-fed-chair-on-thursday-2017-10-30). Fed Gov. Jerome Powell is tipped as the pick by several media outlets. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-leaning-toward-appointing-powell-to-fed-report-2017-10-27)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-leaning-toward-appointing-powell-to-fed-report-2017-10-27)Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Qualcomm Inc.(QCOM) could be active after The Wall Street Journal reported (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-said-to-be-designing-new-products-without-qualcomm-chips-2017-10-30) that Apple is not including the chip maker's components in designs for upcoming iPads and iPhones. Apple has accused Qualcomm of using its market dominance to charge unfair royalties and block competitors.

Check out: AMD stock turns negative for year on doubts about cryptocurrency, gaming growth (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amd-stock-drops-amid-doubts-about-cryptocurrency-gaming-growth-2017-10-30)

Reporting late Monday, Mondelez International Inc.(MDLZ) posted forecast-beating earnings and revenue (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mondelez-profit-jumps-81-in-third-quarter-shares-5-higher-2017-10-30).

Sanmina Corp.(SANM) shares tumbled late Monday after the electronic manufacturing services provider's quarterly results and outlook fell short of expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sanmina-shares-fall-on-earnings-miss-outlook-2017-10-30).

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sanmina-shares-fall-on-earnings-miss-outlook-2017-10-30)Apptio Inc.(APTI) rallied late Monday after the enterprise cloud-software company beat forecasts and offered a better-than-expected outlook (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apptio-shares-rally-as-results-outlook-top-street-view-2017-10-30).

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apptio-shares-rally-as-results-outlook-top-street-view-2017-10-30)Chegg Inc.(CHGG) surged to record-high levels late Monday after the education-focused company posted stronger-than-expected earnings and lifted guidance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chegg-rises-to-record-levels-after-earnings-beat-raised-guidance-2017-10-30).

Rent-A-Center Inc.(RCII) rose in late trading Monday after the company said it was exploring "strategic and financial alternatives" to turn around the company (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rent-a-center-to-explore-alternatives-posts-quarterly-loss-2017-10-30).

What are other markets doing?

The ICE Dollar Index was flat at 94.558.

Brent oil prices fell 31 cents, or 0.5%, to $60.59 a barrel, while U.S. crude eased 16 cents to $53.98 a barrel. Gold was largely flat at $1,277.50 an ounce.

Stocks in Europe moved modestly higher as a stream of earnings reports arrived.

In Asia, stocks finished mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikkei-retreats-ahead-of-boj-announcement-2017-10-30), marked by losses for the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong. But Korea's Kospi Composite Index posted a record close on blowout results for heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE) .

Read:Bank of Japan leaves monetary policy unchanged (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bank-of-japan-leaves-monetary-policy-unchanged-2017-10-30)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 31, 2017 05:36 ET (09:36 GMT)