RTTNews - After a string of lackluster sessions last week, stocks are poised to open considerably lower on Monday, as a lack of first tier economic reports is likely to drive some profit taking. The major index futures are all in negative territory, with the Dow futures down by 55 points.

Nonetheless, traders may look to the results of the Institute for Supply Management - Chicago's business survey for some near-term economic guidance. Economists expect the business barometer index to rise to 48.0 in August from 43.4 in the previous month. The report is scheduled to be released at 9:45 a.m. ET.

Over the course of the week, the market will have the opportunity to react to a series of economic reports, culminating with the August non-farm employment report on Friday. Additionally, the minutes of the August Federal Reserve meeting along with the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing and services reports are likely to be in the spotlight.

With payrolls expected to decline by almost as much as they did in July, the unemployment rate is expected to tick up slightly in August, as economists don't expect a quick fix for the ravaged job market. The report is expected to show a decrease of about 225,000 jobs in August.

At the same time, the manufacturing sector has been showing a gradual recovery from a deep contraction and may show an expansion in July. The manufacturing index based on the ISM's national survey is expected to show a reading above 50 after several months of sub-50 readings.

On the corporate front, Baker Hughes (BHI) said it has agreed to acquire BJ Services (BJS) in a deal valued at about $5.5 billion based on closing stock prices on August 28, 2009. Under the terms of the deal, BJ Services stockholders will receive 0.40035 shares of Baker Hughes and $2.69 in cash in exchange for each share of BJ Services common stock.

Friday, the Nasdaq managed to end the session just above the unchanged line, while the Dow and the S&P 500 posted modest losses. The Nasdaq closed up by 1.04 points at 2,029, while the Dow fell by 36 points to 9,544 and the S&P 500 dipped by 2.05 points to 1,029.

Despite the mixed performance on the session, the major averages all closed modestly higher for the week. The Dow and the Nasdaq both rose 0.4 percent for the week, while the S&P 500 posted a weekly gain of 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures are sliding in early commodities trading, falling by $1.44 to $71.30 a barrel after moving modestly higher in the previous session. The price of gold is also moving lower, declining by $3.10 to $954.40 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is higher versus the major European currencies, rising to $1.4278 versus the euro and moving up to $1.6202 versus the pound. Meanwhile, the dollar is lower against the yen, trading at 93.21 yen.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region closed mostly lower to start the week. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index slipped by 0.4 percent, while the Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 1.9 percent.

The major European markets are also moving lower, with the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index down 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. The U.K. market remains closed for a bank holiday.

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