US stocks set to fight for positive ground; housing data ahead – MarketWatch

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U.S. stock futures indicated a small rise at the open, keeping a key technology gauge on track for a weekly loss, as investors looked ahead to housing-starts and consumer sentiment data.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures ESM7, +0.12%  rose 31 points, or 0.2%, to 21,351, while S&P 500 futures ESM7, +0.12%  added 2.9 points to 2,435. Nasdaq-100 futures NQM7, +0.15%  gained 7 points to 5,716.50.

The market could see increased volatility during the session as it’s a quadruple witching day, which means the simultaneous expiry of stock index futures, stock index options, stock options and single stock futures.

Wall Street stocks slipped Thursday, driven by yet another decline for big-cap technology names such as Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, -1.26% though indexes bounced off lows. The Dow industrials DJIA, -0.07%  and S&P 500 SPX, -0.22%  suffered modest declines, while the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.47%  fell 0.5%.

Data, Fed speaker on tap: Attention on Friday will turn to economic data, with a reading on U.S. housing starts for May due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, along with building permits for the same month. At 10 a.m., the University of Michigan June consumer sentiment survey will be released.

Dallas Federal Reserve President Rob Kaplan will appear in a moderated question-and-answer session at the Park Cities Rotary Club in Dallas at 12:45 p.m. Eastern.

Investors will likely be parsing those comments for clues about the recent Fed meeting, which resulted in an interest-rate rise, a pledge to start easing the throttle on its stimulus program and indication that another rate hike is in the pipeline.

“Investors had already been digesting the fact that, despite recent weak U.S. data, the U.S. Federal Reserve appeared unconcerned about a slowdown in the U.S. economy,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, in a note.

“These two factors combined, along with further weakness in the U.S. tech sector, played into the risk averse mood amongst equity investors as they began to mull the possibility of tighter policy, not only from the U.S. Federal Reserve, but also the Bank of England, not to mention the prospect of a discussion on tapering from the European Central Bank before the end of the year,” he said.

For the week, the Nasdaq is poised to drop 0.7%, with the S&P 500 flat and the DJIA up 0.4%.

Stocks to watch: Google, owned by Alphabet Inc. GOOG, -0.89% could be fined more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) by the European Commission over allegations that it has abused its position in the search engine market, the Financial Times reported.

Other markets: Gains for the dollar slowed some, with the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.13%  , which tracks the buck against a basket of six rivals, down to 97.386, compared with 97.484 in late North American trade on Thursday.

However, it charged to ¥111.33 USDJPY, +0.36%   against the Japanese yen, from ¥110.93 late Thursday in North America. Yen weakness came after the Bank of Japan left key rates and its own stimulus policy unchanged on Friday.

Asian stocks ADOW, +0.04% had a mixed session while European stocks SXXP, +0.62%  were trading higher.

Meanwhile, U.S. oil prices CLN7, +0.47%  traded higher, but were still set for a weekly loss of nearly 2.5%. Concerns over a global supply glut, chiefly from the U.S. has been cutting into oil prices. Investors will get key U.S. oil-rig data later from Baker Hughes Inc. BHI, +0.37%

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