Stocks are sagging in August on concerns that the Federal Reserve will start to pull back on its economic stimulus. So far, the Dow Jones industrial average is down 3.2 percent for the month. But Friday, The Dow closed up nearly 47 points thanks to a surge in Microsoft after CEO Steve Ballmer said he will retire. The S&P 500 edged up 6 1/2 points and the Nasdaq rose 19. Wall Street appears headed for opening losses today based on futures trading.
- World stock markets fluctuated today, weighed down by uncertainty over whether a phase-out of the Federal Reserve's monetary stimulus program is imminent. German and French markets were down in early trading. Markets in Britain are closed for a holiday. Asian stock markets outside of Japan were mostly higher. Benchmark crude oil rose and remain above $106 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and fell against the yen.
- The Commerce Department reports on new durable goods orders in July today. That'll give traders a good look at factory output in the U.S. On Tuesday, investors will get the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for June and the second quarter. Another potential market-mover will be the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index for August.
- A survey of business economists finds most believe the biggest fiscal challenge facing the U.S. is deficits in the next two decades, rather than the next 10 years. The National Association for Business Economics survey. The policy survey found no consensus on the best way to address those deficits. Ballooning costs for Social Security and Medicare are expected to result in growing long-term budget deficits.
- China's government is trying to reassure companies and its public about the economy's health, saying growth is stabilizing after a lengthy decline and should hit the official target of 7.5 percent for the year. The announcement by the chief spokesman for the Cabinet's statistics agency was part of official efforts to defuse unease about the country's deepest slump since the 2008 global crisis.