9-29-17 9:00 AM EDT | Email Article

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica

Dow and the S&P on track for their sixth straight monthly gain

U.S. stock-index futures struggled for direction on Friday, with investors finding few reasons to keep pushing shares higher following gains that have lifted equities for the week, the month, and the quarter.

What are stock-index futures doing?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are down 11 points, or less than 0.1%, at 22,309, while those for the S&P 500 index are off 1.2 points, or less than 0.1%, 2,506.75. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index are rising 8.5 points, or 0.1%, to 5,947.

For the week, the Dow is looking at a gain of 0.1%, while the S&P is up 0.3% and the Nasdaq is up 0.4%. The standout of the final week of the quarter has been small-capitalization companies, with the Russell 2000 up 2.6% thus far this week.

On Thursday, stocks in the U.S. posted slight gains (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-may-struggle-for-direction-as-investors-await-gdp-more-fed-speakers-2017-09-28), but enough to record a trio of all-time highs for three closely followed benchmarks: the Russell 2000 , Dow transports and the S&P 500.

What are market participants saying?

"The fundamental headlines in terms of market weakness don't seem to be there right now, but valuations look a little stretched and investors may take a pause from the momentum we've been seeing," said Sean Lynch, co-head, global equity strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute, who added that the S&P 500 could retreat 5% or 6% through the rest of the year before rebounding in 2018.

"The initial move so far this year has been on pretty good earnings and pretty good fundamentals. However, a lot of stocks have had great runs and look very expensive now." He singled out small-cap stocks as ones that "seem especially risky."

What's driving the market?

Traders are trying to find their footing after a week marked by hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and the long-awaited announcement on tax reform from the Trump administration.

Read:Get set for a 'favorable' backdrop for stocks until at least 2019, says Blackstone's Wien (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/get-set-for-a-favorable-backdrop-for-stocks-until-at-least-2019-says-blackstones-wien-2017-09-29)

In the latest economic data, personal income rose 0.2% in August, while consumer spending was up 0.1%.

What are investors watching out for today?

At 9:45 a.m. Eastern, the Chicago purchasing managers index for September is scheduled for release, followed by consumer sentiment for the same month at 10 a.m. Eastern.

On the Fed docket, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker is lined up to give a speech at 11 a.m. Eastern, covering the economic outlook as well as on fintech at a conference at his regional bank.

Which stocks are Wall Street following?

Zogenix Inc. (ZGNX) shares soared 208% in premarket on news of a positive trial (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/zogenix-says-late-stage-trial-of-treatment-for-rare-form-of-epilepsy-met-its-main-goal-2017-09-29) for its drug to treat a rare type of epilepsy.

Amazon.com Inc.-owned Whole Foods(AMZN) said late Thursday that hackers tried to steal data from its credit-card-swiping machines (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/whole-foods-says-hackers-tried-to-steal-data-from-credit-card-swiping-machines-2017-09-29). Amazon shares, however, were up 0.3% ahead of the bell.

Shares of Tesla Inc.(TSLA) were up nearly 1% in premarket, even though shares of the electric-car maker are nearing their second-straight week of losses, (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-shares-are-facing-a-second-straight-week-of-losses-2017-09-28) down 3.5% with one session to go on Friday.

Read:Elon Musk unveils 'Mars City,' says his spaceship will take you 'anywhere on earth in under an hour' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/elon-musk-unveils-mars-city-says-his-spaceship-will-take-you-anywhere-on-earth-in-under-an-hour-2017-09-29)

Shares of Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) could also move after the food company late Thursday raised its outlook (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tyson-shares-jump-after-company-ups-outlook-announces-layoffs-2017-09-28)and announced a restructuring that includes layoffs.

Read:Pier 1, Sherwin-Williams, Southwest issue profit and sales warnings on hurricanes, earthquakes (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pier-1-sherwin-williams-southwest-issue-profit-and-sales-warnings-on-hurricanes-earthquakes-2017-09-28)

What are other assets doing?

Asian stock markets (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikkei-on-pace-for-its-best-month-of-2017-2017-09-28) closed mostly higher, while European markets were struggling for direction (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-set-for-best-month-of-2017-2017-09-29).

Oil prices were slightly lower, while all metals except copper advanced.

The ICE Dollar Index is set to break a six-month losing streak, up 0.4% for September.

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 29, 2017 09:00 ET (13:00 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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