Stock Market Today: Futures Little Changed Ahead of Data Barrage

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were little changed Monday awaiting this week's Federal Reserve policy announcement on Wednesday, July government jobs report on Friday and second-quarter GDP figures on Wednesday.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) futures were down 3 points, or 4.57 points below fair value, to 16,888. Futures for the S&P 500 were flat, or 0.64 points below fair value, to 1,971.5. Nasdaq (QQQ) futures were up 2.3 points, or 0.39 points above fair value, to 3,957.8.

U.S. stock markets slipped on Friday as some of the largest names, including Amazon (AMZN) and Visa (V), reported unimpressive earnings.

While the S&P 500 is still higher by 7% in 2014 and less than 1% off its latest all-time high achievement last week with the help of generally solid earnings reports, the Russell 2000 (IWM) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average did not join the S&P 500 at new records.

"This coming week should provide another major test for markets, as we prepare for another big week of earnings reports, the FOMC statement and a barrage of economic news," noted Gina Martin Adams, senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities Equity Strategy.

A whopping 152 S&P 500 companies are expected to report this week, including 29 financial companies, 22 energy companies and 21 industrials companies. Currently, the consensus expects 6.7% year-over-year S&P 500 earnings-per-share growth for the second quarter, up from forecasts of 6.3%, according to Wells Fargo Securities Equity Strategy.

Ahead of the market open, Tyson Foods (TSN) was edging higher to $39.60 after posting a quarterly EPS increase of about 9% to 75 cents. It was also revealed that Brazilian meat processor JBS will buy Tyson's poultry businesses in Mexico and Brazil for $575 million in cash.

Goldman Sachs economists say they expect this week's FOMC statement to show very little change. The FOMC might choose to upgrade the language on growth in economic activity somewhat and also strengthen its language on labor market indicators a touch in recognition of the strong June employment report.

For the most part, however, recent data have supported the slightly more accommodative-than-expected June statement. In particular, the softer June CPI print likely will reinforce the Committee's decision to downplay the firmer inflation prints seen from March to May. Weak housing starts and new-home sales reports will likely underscore concerns about the housing sector, according to Goldman Sachs.

Also out on Wednesday will be second-quarter GDP data, which is expected by economists to show 3% growth after the first quarter's 2.9% contraction. First-quarter upward revisions are anticipated when the Commerce Department this week provides revisions for three years.

Monday's June pending home sales report will be out at 10 a.m. The July "flash" Markit PMI services index is expected at 9:45 a.m.

Other companies making the headlines Monday include Dollar Tree (DLTR), Family Dollar (FDO), McDonald's (MCD), Danone (DANOY) and Hospira (HSP).

Dollar Tree has agreed to buy Family Dollar for $8.5 billion in cash and stock. McDonald's restaurants in China were offering a much-reduced menu on Monday, as the fast food company reels from the continuing tainted-meat scandal. McDonald's has stuck with the offending supplier, Shanghai Husi Food, and its owner, U.S.-based OSI, out of necessity. French yogurt-maker Danone was reportedly in talks with Hospira to sell Danone's medical and nutritional business to the U.S. injectable-drug maker.

Markets were mixed in Europe on a mixed bag of results this morning and with little by way of direction from economic data. Germany's market -- still more sensitive to events in Ukraine than elsewhere in Europe -- was down, while London and Paris were in positive territory.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite rose 2.41% to 2,177.95, after official data showed industrial profits in China rose 17.9% in the year to June. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng closed up 0.88% at 24,428.63 and in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.46% at 15,529.4.

-- By Andrea Tse in New York

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