Market Snapshot: S&P 500 poised to carve out fresh record


U.S. stock futures on Monday pointed to a small rise at the open, putting the main benchmarks on track to score fresh records as this year’s fourth quarter starts.

What are the stock benchmarks doing?

S&P 500 futures ESZ7, +0.09% advanced by 3.40 points, or 0.2%, to 2,519.50, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMZ7, +0.12%  added 43 points, or 0.2%, to 22,389.00. Nasdaq-100 futures NQZ7, +0.14%  tacked on 11.50 points, or 0.2%, to 5,994.00.

On Friday, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.37%  and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.66%  finished at all-time closing highs, and the Dow DJIA, +0.11%  finished only 7.50 points below its Sept. 20 record close. The three main benchmarks posted weekly, monthly and quarterly gains.

What are strategists and traders saying?

Some strategists continue to sound optimistic as the fourth quarter—historically the equity market’s strongest—kicks off Monday.

“We think a bullish bias is appropriate for Q4 and would generally feel comfortable adding exposure to stocks with positive technical catalysts, such as breakouts,” said Katie Stockton, BTIG’s chief technical strategist in a note. A breakout generally refers to a stock rallying to a fresh high.

Read more: Will the stock market live up to the 4th quarter’s reputation for strength?

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares in MGM Resorts International MGM, +0.77%  dropped 5% in premarket action in the wake of a mass shooting at the company’s Mandalay Bay property in Las Vegas. A gunman opened fire on a crowd at an outdoor country-music concert in Vegas on Sunday night, leaving at least 50 people dead and more than 400 injured.

Gun-maker shares were moving. Smith & Wesson parent American Outdoor Brands Corp.’s AOBC, -1.29%  stock jumped 4.9%, while Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. stocks RGR, -1.62%  climbed 4.0%. Vista Outdoor Inc., shares VSTO, -0.35%  were still inactive ahead of the open.

Streaming-media company Roku Inc.’s stock ROKU, +12.94%  traded 5% lower in premarket action. The new issue surged in its trading debut Thursday, then jumped again Friday.

See: Roku IPO valuation nearly doubles in two sessions

And read: Wall Street’s embrace of Roku ignores the ghosts of GoPro, Fitbit IPOs

Software-giant Oracle Corp.’s stock ORCL, +0.56%  could see active trading after Chairman Larry Ellison guaranteed late Sunday to offer database warehousing at less than half the price charged by rival Inc. AMZN, +0.52%

ESPN-parent Walt Disney Co. DIS, +0.53%  and cable operator Altice USA Inc. ATUS, +1.15%  could make moves after they reached a tentative agreement late Sunday to keep Disney’s channels on the air for millions of subscribers in the New York area.

What’s driving the market?

Two September reports on manufacturing are due shortly after the opening bell, with one from Markit slated to hit at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time, followed by ISM’s at 10 a.m. Eastern. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect a reading of 58.1% for ISM’s index, down from 58.8% in August.

A release on construction spending is also scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m. Eastern, and economists expect 0.4% growth in August.

Check out: MarketWatch’s Economic Calendar

On the Federal Reserve front, Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan is slated to take part in a moderated Q&A at the Fed El Paso branch at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.

What other assets are doing

Spain’s IBEX stock benchmark IBEX, -1.73% traded about 1% lower after voters in Catalonia backed secession in a Sunday referendum that was marred by violent clashes and boycotted by opponents. The euro EURUSD, -0.4825% was losing ground, while the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +0.16%  rose.

Oil futures CLX7, -2.15%  and gold futures GCZ7, -0.51%  were pulling back, as the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, +0.39% gained. Asian stocks closed mostly higher, though several bourses were shut for holidays.

See: Brave investors might want to buy the dip on these 2 Catalonia-based banks