MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stock Futures Sag As Investors Fail To Shake Fears Of A Pullback

By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Yellen, Draghi, other central bankers in the spotlight via Frankfurt conference

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U.S. stock futures faced a fight to make headway Tuesday, as pullback fears continued to cast a shadow over investors, who were keeping a watchful eye out for news about U.S. tax reform plans.

Meanwhile, central bankers were in focus, as Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen joined her European and Japanese counterparts on a discussion panel in Frankfurt. Comments are expected from other Fed speakers, as investors listen out for hints on the path for U.S. interest rates.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

S&P 500 futures were off 3.65 points to 2,578, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were off 14 points at 23,392. Nasdaq-100 futures were down 1.5 points at 6,310.50.

On Monday, the major U.S. indexes posted modest gains (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-fight-to-hold-steady-as-strategists-brace-for-a-deeper-pullback-2017-11-13), as uncertainty over the state of Republican tax-cut legislation continued and as blue-chip General Electric Co. (GE) hit a more-than-five-year low. The S&P 500 closed up 0.1% to 2,584.84, while the Dow rose 17.49 points to finish at 23,439.70. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.1% to end at 6,757.60.

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What could drive markets?

Fed chief Yellen, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney are taking part in a moderated discussion on communication and markets, which began at 5 a.m. Eastern.

Earlier at the ECB conference (http://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/conferences/html/20171114_communications_challenges_policy_effectiveness.en.html) in Frankfurt, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said a new approach to interest-rate setting may be needed to deal with new shocks, according to prepared remarks (https://www.chicagofed.org/publications/speeches/2017/11-14-2017-future-odyssean-and-delphic-guidance-charles-evans-frankfurt-ecb).

St Louis Fed President James Bullard is due to give a speech at an economic breakfast in Louisville, Kentucky at 8:15 a.m. Eastern. Later, after the market open, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic is expected to give a speech on economic outlook and monetary policy at a business forum in Montgomery, Ala., at around 1 p.m. Eastern..

Concerns about delays in much-anticipated corporate tax cuts out of Washington have been acting as a drag on stocks, and investors could pay attention to fresh comments on that subject.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin late Monday ruled out any increase in the corporate tax rate to above 20% (https://www.wsj.com/articles/steven-mnuchin-says-trump-wont-bend-on-corporate-tax-rate-of-20-1510625153), via an interview at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council gathering on Monday. "It's not going up," Mnuchin said. "I can tell you this is one of the things the president feels very strongly about."

What are strategists saying?

"'Buy the dip'" mentality has been in play throughout the year, especially because many investors don't want to miss the opportunity of a potential rally when the U.S. lowers the corporate tax rate, however the sharp differences between the House and the Senate suggest there are still many barriers to overcome," Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, in a note to clients.

"Overstretched valuations, tighter monetary policies, geopolitical risks, a slowdown and high debt levels in China and low inflation, are some of the factors that could potentially trigger a market correction. However, all of these warnings are being ignored, and stocks continue to score new highs," said Sayed.

Which stocks look like key movers?

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc.(DKS) , Home Depot Inc.(HD), TJX Cos., (TJX) and Advance Auto Parts Inc.(AAP) are scheduled to report earnings ahead of the market open.

Read a preview of Home Depot earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/home-depot-earnings-hurricanes-expected-to-give-retailer-an-earnings-boost-2017-11-13).

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.(BWLD) shares could be active, after shooting more than 25% higher in late trading Monday after The Wall Street Journal reported that a private-equity firm had bid more than $2.3 billion for the restaurant chain. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/buffalo-wild-wings-stock-soars-after-report-of-acquisition-bid-2017-11-13)

What economic data releases are due?

On the data front, the National Federation of Independent Business will release its small-business sentiment gauge for October at 6 a.m. Eastern Time.

That will be followed by October producer prices at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. Economists polled by MarketWatch are forecasting a 0.1% rise for the month.

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

What are other assets doing?

European stocks were trading modestly higher. Asian markets were mostly lower, led by a sharp decline in Australian stocks and not helped by news China industrial production fell (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/china-industrial-output-slows-in-oct-as-expected-2017-11-13) in October.

Gold futures fell 0.5% to $1,272.50 an ounce, while oil futures slipped 19 cents, or 0.2%, to $56.67 a barrel. The International Energy Agency said Tuesday that the U.S. is on track to become the leader in oil and gas production by 2025 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-will-dominate-oil-and-gas-by-2025-after-historic-shale-boom-iea-says-2017-11-14), owing to an unprecedented shale boom.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was down 0.1% 94.375. The British pound fell against the dollar on news of weaker-than-expected U.K. inflation.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 14, 2017 06:45 ET (11:45 GMT)