Stocks were poised for a lower open on Monday as investors looked set to book profits, ahead of a Federal Reserve Board meeting and earnings from some of the nation's largest retailers later this week.
U.S. stocks rallied on Friday, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to a 10-month high as a better-than-expected July jobs report underpinned hopes that the economy was on the cusp of a recovery. The broad index is now up about 50 percent from its 12-year closing low in early March.
We are in a mild profit-taking mode after a rally, and we are also nearing September, the historically worst month for stocks, said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in New York.
Investors will eye the Federal Reserve's statement on Wednesday afternoon at the end of its two-day interest rate-setting meeting. The central bank is expected to hold rates near zero, but investors will look for signals of an exit strategy from its efforts to prop up the financial system.
Also later this week, July retail sales data as well as quarterly scorecards from major retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc
With earnings season almost over, the focus is now on consumers and the Fed this week, said Hogan.
Stocks moving lower before the bell included Best Buy Co Inc
Shares of Freddie Mac
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc
But operating earnings for the second quarter fell short of forecasts, reflecting lower underwriting gains, including from the Geico Corp auto insurance unit, and the impact of the recession on Berkshire's more economically sensitive manufacturing and service units.
On the economic front, the Conference Board's releases its U.S. employment trends index for July at 10:00 a.m. EDT.
S&P 500 index futures were down 3.7 points, and below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 28 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures shed 6 points.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)