Markets are increasingly expecting the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, to announce a partial reduction, or tapering, of its stimulus program at its two-day meeting next week, if comments by Fed officials in the run-up to the meet are anything to go by.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.09 percent, while futures on the S&P 500 were up 0.13 percent, and those on the Nasdaq Composite Index were up 0.16 percent.
“Based on labor market data alone, the probability of a reduction in the pace of asset purchases has increased,” James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, said in a speech to the CFA Society of St. Louis, on Monday. “A small taper might recognize labor market improvement while still providing the [Fed] the opportunity to carefully monitor inflation during the first half of 2014,” he added.
Data on jobless claims and retail sales are due at 8:30 a.m. EST on Thursday, and these two data points could help dictate the Federal Reserve's next move.
In Europe, stocks were mildly up with the Stoxx Europe 600 index trading up 0.2 percent while the FTSE 100 was up 0.14 percent. Germany’s DAX-30 was up 0.15 percent while France's CAC-40 was up 0.18 percent.
In Asia, stocks were mostly weaker with Japan’s Nikkei dropping 0.25 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 ended the day flat. The Shanghai Composite index was down 0.03 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.28 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index was down 0.35 percent while India’s BSE Sensex ended the day down 0.33 percent.