Stock Futures Flat as JPMorgan Investigation Unfolds

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were little changed Monday as investors remained cautious after last week's selloff and awaited more hints into the Federal Reserve's stimulus scale-back plans.

JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) was among the stocks in focus Monday. The Securities and Exchange Commission's anti-bribery unit has opened an investigation into the practices of JPMorgan Chase in China, The New York Times reported. The Times, citing a confidential U.S. government document, said the inquiry centered on whether the bank had hired the children of Chinese officials to help it gain business in China. Shares were falling 0.71% to $52.91 in premarket trading.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 1.75 points, or 4.03 points below fair value, to 1,649.25. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 9 points, or 24.47 points below fair value, to 15,029. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 1.25 points, or 1.86 points below fair value, to 3,071.

Major U.S. stock markets slipped Friday to post back-to-back weekly declines as some encouraging economic indicators were outweighed by the possibility that the Federal Reserve will begin to curb its stimulus program before the end of the year.

"Short-term correction down to S&P 1628-30 looks to be underway given last week's break in the September futures below late July lows at 1670," said Mark Newton, chief technical analyst at Greywolf Execution Partners, in a note. "Although there are beginning signs of positive divergence on hourly charts now on the S&P, it still appears early to buy dips."

The U.S. economic calendar is empty Monday. Investors this week were awaiting the release of the Federal Open Market Committee minutes Wednesday from its July meeting for more guidance into the pace of and when Fed tapering will begin. Clues will also be sought from any developments out of the Aug. 22-24 meeting of central bank officials in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

In other corporate news, Edwards Group ( EVAC), a maker of vacuum products, has agreed to be acquired by Sweden-based Atlas Copco Group in a deal worth as much as $1.6 billion or up to $10.50 a share, which is roughly a 24% premium over Edwards' settlement price Friday.

Chipmaker Intel ( INTC) was gaining 0.62% to $22.05 after analysts at Piper Jaffray raised their recommendation on shares to "neutral" from "underweight" in anticipation of a decent corporate refresh cycle even with the gloomy global PC sales environment.

PulteGroup ( PHM) was adding on 1.66% to $16.55 after the homebuilder stock was bolstered to "outperform" from "market perform" by Wells Fargo analysts, who said shares have a compelling valuation and that the company is "better positioned to weather higher mortgage rates than peers more focused on the entry-level buyer."

Zillow ( Z) was slumping 4.63% to $87 as the Seattle-based online real estate company moves on up to the east side, the west side and everywhere else in New York City with plans to acquire StreetEasy for $50 million in cash.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 5/32, pushing the yield up to 2.845%. The dollar was up 0.04% to $81.29 according to the U.S. dollar index.

The FTSE 100 in London was declining 0.47%, while the DAX in Germany was slipping 0.3%.The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed off 0.24% and the Nikkei 225 in Japan finished up 0.79%.

December gold futures were rising $4 to $1,375 an ounce and October crude oil futures were down 58 cents to $106.71 a barrel.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.>

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