As a trading resumes, last week's poor stock market performance is hanging over Wall Street. Stocks slipped on Friday, pushing the market to a weekly loss. The Dow slipped 30 points, the S&P 500 lost 3 ½ and the Nasdaq fell four points. Investors seem to want firmer evidence the economy is sustaining its recovery before pushing the market back above its recent highs. Futures point to moderate gains this morning.
- International stock markets mostly fell today after a slower increase in Chinese property prices added to jitters about the strength of the world's No. 2 economy. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose but remained below $102.50. The dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
- Investors won't have much economic news to guide them as they begin the trading week. There are no major economic reports due out today. But tomorrow, the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for December and the fourth quarter will be released along with the Consumer Confidence Index for February. Also, Home Depot and Macy's will report quarterly earnings.
- Business economists are almost equally divided over whether the Federal Reserve will pare back bond purchases at the current pace through year's end or take a small breather to let the economy recover further. The National Association for Business Economics conducted its twice-a-year survey of 230 members between Jan. 30 and Feb. 6. About 43 percent of members thought the Fed would complete its so-called "tapering" in the fourth quarter. About 42 percent thought the tapering would finish in 2015 or later.
- Netflix has reached a deal with Comcast to ensure that its TV shows and movies are streamed smoothly to households, the first deal the online video streaming service has reached with an Internet service provider. The two companies said in a joint statement yesterday they're establishing a more direct connection to provide a better service to customers that will also allow for future growth in Netflix traffic. The companies say the arrangement is already working.