Stock futures moved slightly higher, though just barely as geopolitical tensions over Syria and North Korea kept gains in check.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.06% on Monday, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 0.02%, and Nasdaq futures were up 0.02%.
Wall Street has been on edge since Friday as escalating warfare in Syria triggered U.S. intervention. Around 60 cruise missiles were launched at the al-Shayrat airfield on Thursday evening, the air base identified by the U.S. as the location from which a chemical attack that killed dozens was launched earlier this week. The attack by American destroyers USS Ross and Porter was the first time the U.S. has directly intervened in Syria's long-running civil war.
Russia and Iran forces warned over the weekend that the action had crossed "red lines" and it would take action against any further intervention. The forces, part of a joint command center of Russian and Iranian forces and other militias backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that "we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines" in a statement published on Ilam al Harbi.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration appeared to approach the crisis from different angles. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the missile attack was a warning to the Assad regime that the U.S. would not tolerate chemical warfare. However, he said, "there is no change to our military posture." U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley took a more hardline stance, noting on CNN on Sunday that there was no political solution with "Assad at the head of the regime."
Also over the weekend, bombings of Coptic churches in Egypt killed more than 40 and injured 100. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has declared three days of nationwide mourning and will call for a three-month state of emergency.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen headlines a week of little policy talk. Yellen will speak at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy on Monday and could take audience questions. Investors will be on the lookout for commentary on the pace of rate hikes this year and any hints as to when the central bank will begin to reduce its balance sheet.
Barclays (BCS) CEO Jes Staley was being probed by the U.K.'s financial watchdogs over an internal investigation into whistleblowing. Shares of the bank were down slightly in trading in London early Monday. The Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority have started investigations into Staley as to his individual conduct and senior manager responsibilities related to the bank's whistleblowing program and an attempt to try to identify a whistleblower.
The Barclays board on Monday said it became aware of the matter in early 2017 when the issue was raised by a concerned employee.
Lennar (LEN) reduced its first-quarter earnings after taking an unexpected financial hit. The homebuilder took a one-time $140 million charge tied to a 2008 court case. The company will also purchase the property associated with the case for $114 million. Lennar reduced its first-quarter earnings to $38.1 million, or 16 cents a share, from a previous $130.8 million, or 56 cents a share.
The first-quarter earnings season is already upon us with the big banks set to kick off the reporting period this week. Citigroup (C) , JPMorgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo will report their performance over the three months to March 31 on Thursday, the final day before Wall Street takes a three-day Easter weekend.
Hopes are high for another period of growth for companies in the S&P 500. Operating income is expected to increase more than 9% during the first quarter, according to FactSet, the fastest pace in just over five years. Another period of growth would mark the third straight quarter of earnings gains in a row.