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US stocks muted; uncertainty over Fed’s rate cutting plans By


on — U.S. stocks traded in a muted manner Monday, starting a holiday-shortened week in a cautious fashion as investors awaited more economic data as well as comments from a number of Federal Reserve officials for clues of future monetary policy. 

By 09:35 ET (13:35 GMT), the was down 120 points, or 0.3%, traded 5 points, or 0.1%, lower, while rose 5 points, or 0.1%.

The markets are closed on Wednesday for the Juneteenth holiday, and come off a mixed week, with the blue-chip posting its third losing week in four, while the and Nasdaq notched their seventh up week in the last eight, buoyed by the recent rally in tech.

Uncertainty over Fed moves 

The divergence of the performances of the main indices is an indication of the uncertainty over where the stock markets go next, which is largely based on investors being unsure when the Federal Reserve will start its rate-cutting cycle.

The main economic release this week will be Tuesday’s for May, as investors try to get a handle on the strength of the U.S. economy, and thus the likely timing of Fed rate cuts.

Economists are expecting retail sales to have risen 0.3% month-on-month, after the figure came in at 0.0% in April.

There are several Fed officials due to speak this week, including New York Fed President , Minneapolis Fed President , San Francisco Fed President and Richmond Fed President . 

Kashkari on Sunday said, in an interview on CBS, it’s a “reasonable prediction” that the U.S. central bank will cut interest rates once this year, waiting until December to do it.

Activist investor targets Autodesk 

In the corporate sector, the likes of Lennar (NYSE:), Kroger (NYSE:), Darden Restaurants (NYSE:) and CarMax (NYSE:) will report quarterly earnings this week.

Elsewhere, Autodesk (NASDAQ:) rose 3.4% after the Wall Street Journal reported that activist investor Starboard Value has acquired a stake worth approximately $500 million in the design-software manufacturer,  and is now advocating for changes.

Video game retailer, and meme favorite, GameStop (NYSE:) stock rose 0.2% ahead of its annual meeting later Monday, after being postponed last week due to a technical glitch resulting from high demand from shareholders.

On the flip side. AMC Networks (NASDAQ:) stock fell over 11% after the entertainment company announced a $125 million convertible offering.

Crude continues to gain

Oil prices rose Monday, continuing the previous week’s upbeat note despite some bumpy data out of China, the world’s biggest crude importer.

At 09:35 ET, had fallen 0.2% to $82.45 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures dipped 0.2% to $77.89 per barrel. 

The crude benchmarks recorded a winning week last week, their first in four weeks, buoyed by expectations that the Northern Hemisphere summer vacation season will boost fuel demand this summer. 

This optimism has overshadowed lower-than-predicted Chinese figures in May, released over the weekend, which pointed to an uneven recovery in the world’s biggest oil importer.


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