Stock futures are flat to start the week, energy stocks gain

Stock futures are flat to start the week, energy stocks gain

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Futures contracts were mostly flat on Monday, as major U.S. equity indexes hover near records.

Dow futures gained 65 points, while those linked to the S&P 500 were roughly flat. Nasdaq 100 futures were 0.3% lower.

The moves came after last week’s trading ended on an upbeat note with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 hitting fresh all-time highs on Friday.

Gasoline futures rose after a ransomware attack forced the closure of the largest U.S. fuel pipeline over the weekend. Colonial Pipeline, which operates a 5,500-mile system, said it was forced to halt the transport of fuel from the Gulf Coast to the New York metro area on Friday as it “took certain systems offline to contain the threat.”

Shares of energy stocks gained in the premarket including Marathon Oil, Occidental Petroleum and Devon Energy. Chevron was up 1% in early trading and set to give a boost to the Dow.

Key tech stocks declined in early trading. Tesla was down 1%. Oracle lost nearly 1% after a downgrade from Barclays. Exxon was also higher in early trading.

Last week, the Dow rallied 2.7% and the S&P 500 gained 1.2%. Despite a 0.9% rally on the week’s final session, the Nasdaq Composite shed 1.5% over the same period.

The late-week optimism came despite a far-weaker-than-expected April jobs report, which showed that U.S. employers added 266,000 net payrolls last month. Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected 1 million additions.

Mike Wilson, chief U.S. equity strategist at Morgan Stanley, noted that traders appear to have already priced a robust economic reopening thanks to declining Covid-19 cases. Any news that could threaten that narrative could quickly impact where portfolio managers allocate cash

“We’re watching expectations vs reality with the market now well priced for reopening. On a cumulative basis, retail sales are above where they would have been on pre-COVID trends – suggesting some expectations risk around the pent up demand narrative,” Wilson wrote over the weekend.

“The labor market has less slack than is typical at this point in the cycle,” he added. “We recommend moving up the quality curve and adding more defensive balance as the market shifts toward mid-cycle leadership.”

The market will face a key test on Wednesday with the release of CPI inflation data. Investors fear a scenario where the Federal Reserve is forced to cut back its easy money policies to curb inflation, before the economy has fully recovered from the pandemic.

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