Futures Steady; U.S. Elections in Focus


FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. stock-index futures were little changed Monday as traders braced for the U.S. elections and kept a close eye on embattled Greece.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:10 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 4 points to 12995, S&P 500 futures fell 0.75 point to 1405 and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 1 point to 2640.

The market impact of the elections has been ratcheted up significantly this term amid the stark contrasts between both presidential candidates' economic plans. Several investment banks literally have different economic models based on whether President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney win. The race, according to several recent surveys, is essentially a dead heat.

"This week, all eyes in the U.S. (and globally) will be on the general elections," Anshul Pradhan of Barclays wrote in a note to clients.

On top of that, the U.S. is hurtling toward the fiscal cliff, a set of automatic spending cuts that economists say could ravage American economic output. That means Congressional races will take on even more importance for Wall Street than usual.

Greece also found its way back on market participant's radar. The country's coalition government is set to present parliament with a new austerity package and 2013 budget. Rescue aid from the International Monetary Fund and European Union hinges on the passage of these highly-unpopular programs. Without the aid, investors will once again be have to deal with the prospect of Greece defaulting on its debt and potentially being jettisoned from the EU.

The economic calendar is fairly light on the day. The Institute for Supply Management releases its gauge of U.S. service sector activity at 10:00 a.m. ET. The gauge is expected to show that portion of the economy is forecast to have expanded at a quicker pace in October than it did in September.

Other significant reports on tap this week include a look at U.S. trade and consumer sentiment.

Oil prices ticked higher. The benchmark contract traded in New York advanced 15 cents, or 0.18%, to $85.01 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.47% to $2.585 a gallon.

In metals, gold climbed $6, or 0.36%, to $1,681 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 sold off by 1% to 2521, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.64% to 5831 and the German DAX slumped 0.62% to 7318.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 slid 0.48% to 9007 and the Chinese Hang Seng slipped 0.47% to 22006.