While economic data points continue to deliver unexpected yet pleasant surprises, stocks continue to wallow and Monday futures too point to a subdued opening.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.01 percent while futures on the S&P 500 were up 0.08 percent but those on the Nasdaq 100 were down 0.1 percent.
“We believe a pickup in consumer spending should leave businesses feeling more confident and willing to invest,” a note from Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said, adding that gains “in the second half of 2013 has been driven by the consumer.” Noting the effects of the sequester spending cuts, the note said that the U.S. economy had proved resilient, which "leaves us feeling optimistic about the prospects for stronger growth to persist in 2014."
Data on the ISM non-manufacturing index for December is expected to be released at 10 a.m. EST and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch expects it to hold steady at 54.0. Data on trade balance and employment are scheduled for later in the week, and so too are minutes of the FOMC's Dcember meeting, and investors are expected to watch them closely.
"The minutes of the mid-December FOMC meeting (Wednesday) and/or December’s employment figures (Friday) could persuade investors to revise their expectations of how fast the Fed will wind down its monthly asset purchases," Capital Economics said in a note.
In Europe, despite solid PMI numbers from the euro zone and the UK, with the exception of France, markets were fairly mixed. The Stoxx Europe 600 index was trading down 0.17 percent while the FTSE 100 was down 0.12 percent. Germany’s DAX-30 was up 0.07 percent while France's CAC-40 was down 0.03 percent.
In Asia, markets were mostly down with Japan’s Nikkei plunging down 2.35 percent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 ended down 0.47 percent. South Korea’s Kospi, on the other hand, was up 0.37 percent. The Shanghai Composite index was down 1.8 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.58 percent. India’s BSE Sensex was down 0.31 percent.