Stock futures were little changed on Monday as investors paused after major indexes hit record highs on Friday and before the start of the quarterly earnings reporting season.
Trading is expected to be light due to the Columbus Day holiday when U.S. government offices will be closed and bond markets are shut.
Stocks revived last week, recovering from a summer sell-off caused by a credit squeeze and housing market losses. The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 surged to all-time highs after a solid September employment report.
We are at new highs, so investors are taking a healthy, well-needed pause before the start of earnings. I expect an extremely quiet day, said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in Princeton, New Jersey.
Now that the credit problems seem to have subsided, the next focus is earnings. The key question, is the consumer alive or dead?
On Monday S&P 500 futures slipped 4.1 points but were above fair value, a mathematical formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.
Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 12 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were off 5 points.
CNBC television reported that brokerage SunTrust Robinson Humphrey cut its rating on shares of consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co to neutral from buy. The stock, a component of the Dow, fell 0.7 percent in Europe.
JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America Corp are among stocks to watch after the Financial Times reported that the banks were likely to disclose losses of about $3 billion in mortgage securities and leveraged loans.
Shares of Merrill Lynch & Co dropped more than 1 percent in Europe after JP Morgan had cut its rating on the Wall Street bank, according to theflyonthewall.com. Credit Suisse also downgraded Merrill, according to the same Web site.
Aluminum producer Alcoa, a Dow component, unofficially opens the season for reporting third-quarter earnings on Tuesday. Investors are focused on how the economy and profits are holding up in the housing slump.
Stocks of financial companies were last week's biggest winner as investors bet that the worst effects of the credit market turmoil are behind Wall Street.