MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stock Futures Struggle As Cyber Monday Keeps Retailers In The Spotlight

By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Time Inc. gains on buyout news

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The S&P 500 was set to ease back from its record high on Monday, with stock futures inching slightly lower as traders returned for the first full U.S. trading session after Thanksgiving.

Retailers will remain in focus amid Cyber Monday shopping, while investors will be refocusing attention on progress on a Republican tax plan as lawmakers also return from their holidays form the break.

What are stock-index futures doing?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slipped 4 points to 23,513. S&P 500 futures dropped 0.25 point to 2,600.50, Nasdaq-100 futures fell 2.75 points to 6,410.25.

In a holiday-shortened session on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-shape-up-for-weekly-win-with-retailers-in-focus-for-black-friday-2017-11-24), the S&P 500 gained 5.34 points, or 0.2%, to 2,602.42, closing at a record, with technology and materials shares doing the heavy lifting.

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Read:Throw out the stock-market playbook as S&P 500 nears 3,000 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/time-to-throw-out-the-stock-market-playbook-as-sp-500-nears-3000-2017-11-25)

The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.3% to 6,889.16, to clinch an all-time high on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1% to 23,557.99, less than half a percentage point from its record finish at 23,590.83. All three main indexes posted their first weekly gain in three weeks.

The Russell 2000 index , the gauge of small companies, also closed at a record, up 0.3% at 1,519.16.

What could help drive markets?

The retail sector is likely to remain in focus as the holiday shopping season continues. Cyber Monday shopping is expected to set an online sales record, according to forecasts from Adobe, which reported that Black Friday sales online hit a record $5.03 billion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/black-friday-online-sales-reach-record-5-billion-2017-11-25).

Among companies benefiting from that spending spree, Amazon.com (AMZN)(AMZN)closed at a record high (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-black-friday-records-push-jeff-bezoss-fortune-past-100-billion-2017-11-24) for the third straight session on Friday, and the online retailer's shares were up about 0.5% in premarket trading.

Opinion: Investors can feel safe ignoring the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping reports (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/black-friday-shopping-wont-signal-the-stock-markets-december-path-2017-11-22)

Investors will also watch for developments surrounding the Republican tax plan, with a Senate vote on proposed tax changes expected this week--perhaps as early as Tuesday. Republican leaders have said they expect both the House and Senate will hammer out a deal on taxes before the year's end. Hope of market-boosting tax reforms from President Donald Trump's administration is one catalyst helping drive U.S. stock markets higher over the past year.

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-how-tied-retail-stocks-are-to-black-friday-and-holiday-shopping-2017-11-16) (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/black-friday-shopping-wont-signal-the-stock-markets-december-path-2017-11-22)Which stocks could see action?

Some retailers saw positive moves Friday, which could carry on at the start of the week. Shares of Macy's Inc. (M) rose 0.3% ahead of the bell on Monday, erasing losses from earlier in premarket activity. The department store reported trouble with its credit-card systems (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/macys-stock-drops-amid-reports-of-black-friday-credit-card-glitch-2017-11-24) on Friday, with customers taking to Twitter to complain.

Shares of Time Inc.(TIME) rose 9.2% in heavy premarket trading after Meredith Corp.(MDP), the publisher of Better Homes & Gardens and Allrecipes, struck a $1.85 billion deal to buy the magazine publisher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/meredith-bets-on-magazine-industry-with-185-billion-time-purchase-2017-11-26). Meredith shares climbed 4.8% before the open.

A pullback for technology stocks in Asia could weigh on that asset class in U.S. trading. Morgan Stanley downgraded Samsung Electronics (005930.SE) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (2330.TW), which triggered sharp losses for those stocks in Asia.

What are analysts saying?

"Expectations of tax reforms, in my opinion, have kept Wall Street optimistic throughout the year and stocks at record highs. It's time for U.S. policy makers to deliver, or the long-awaited correction will likely occur soon," said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM.

"The Senate is back from recess, and President Trump will meet senators on Tuesday. At this stage, neither economic data nor monetary policy will be given a lot of attention. It's all about fiscal policies, and without meaningful progress it's likely to be painful for stocks and the dollar," said Sayed in a note to clients.

What economic events could move markets?

Among the Federal Reserve highlights this week, Jerome Powell, nominated by President Trump to be the next Fed chairman, will take questions from the Senate on Tuesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/meet-the-next-fed-boss-same-as-the-old-boss-jerome-powell-to-face-senate-glare-2017-11-26). Fed. Gov. Powell is set to take over from outgoing Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who will testify to the Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday.

Opinion:The Trump Fed will fuel another huge stock-market rally (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-trump-fed-will-fuel-another-huge-stock-market-rally-2017-11-27)

On Monday, New York Fed President William Dudley is expected to appear in a moderated discussion at event sponsored by University of California, Berkeley at 7 p.m. Eastern. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari is due to take part in a moderated discussion at Winona State University at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

On the data front, a reading on new home sales for October is scheduled for release at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

What are other assets doing?

European stocks posted mostly modest losses, (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/banks-drugmakers-push-european-stocks-toward-1-week-high-2017-11-27) while Asia stocks fell (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinese-stocks-drop-again-samsung-weighs-down-kospi-2017-11-26), driven by a 1.4% loss for the Korean KOSPI Composite Index and a 0.9% loss for both China's Shanghai Composite Index and the Taiwan Taiex Weighed Index .

U.S. oil futures slipped (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-slip-from-2-year-high-as-traders-brace-for-opec-meeting-2017-11-27) 66 cents, or 1.1%, to $58.30 a barrel, as investors looked ahead to the meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and nonmember oil producers on Thursday.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index fell, with the euro moving higher against the U.S. currency (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/euro-hovers-at-2-month-high-buoyed-by-hopes-for-german-breakthrough-2017-11-27), while gold futures moved up.

Bitcoin surged to a new all-time high on Monday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-flirts-with-10000-milestone-as-mesmerizing-performance-continues-2017-11-27), making its way closer to a new milestone of $10,000, as it rose 3.3% to $9,657.01.

Read:Bitcoin is 'a bubble that is bound to burst,' analysts warn (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-bitcoin-fever-is-like-the-dot-com-bubble-in-one-chart-2017-11-21)

Sara Sjolin contributed to this article

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 27, 2017 08:10 ET (13:10 GMT)