US stocks seen down on Fed easing concerns
U.S. stock index futures were narrowly mixed Monday, after major indexes posted their first back-to-back weekly losses since late June, amid ongoing uncertainty about when the Federal Reserve might start tapering its asset purchases.
With no major economic data on tap Monday, trading will likely be light as investors look ahead to the minutes of the last Fed meeting, which will be released on Wednesday, for clues as to when the central bank will start scaling back its $85 billion per month stimulus program.
"The timing of the Fed's commencement of tapering remains in the balance," Chis Scicluna, an economist at Daiwa Capital, said in a note on Monday. "Wednesday brings the minutes from the most recent FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee] meeting, which might shine a touch more light on the debate."
(Read more: September or December taper – does it really matter?)
In Asia, China's benchmark index, the Shanghai Composite, climbed 0.8 percent as sentiment recovered, following last week's trading error at Everbright Securities. Plus, the Japanese Nikkei reversed earlier losses after posting a wider-than-expected monthly trade deficit, which cast some doubt on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's aggressive economic policies.
(Read more: That 6% rally in China? Blame a trading goof)
On the earnings front, Saks posted a winder-than-expected quarterly loss after weak sales of shoes and handbags caused the department store chain to mark down prices. Saks became the latest retailer to post lackluster sales. Last week, Macy's, Nordstrom, Kohl's and Wal-Mart all posted lower-than-expected sales. In July, Saks reached a deal to be acquired by Canada's Hudson's Bay.
In addition, JPMorgan Chase will be in the spotlight, after weekend reports that U.S. authorities have opened a bribery investigation into whether the bank hired the children of Chinese officials to help it win lucrative business.
(Read more: JPMorgan hiring in China under scrutiny: Report)
In the bond markets, yields on 10-year benchmark Treasurys reached 2.87 percent, the highest since July 2011, on Fed tapering concerns. So far this month, U.S. bond mutual funds and ETFs have seen outflows of $19.7 billion, according to TrimTabs.
"Heavy bond fund redemptions and the backup in bond yields should concern all investors, not just bond investors, because the U.S. economy is a highly leveraged economy that will not easily tolerate higher borrowing costs," TrimTabs CEO David Santschi said in a report.
(Read more: Bond exodus accelerates as yields creep nearer 3%)
Oil prices are likely to drift higher this week, CNBC's weekly sentiment survey showed. However, price gains may be limited, as analysts said the uptick in political instability in Egypt had already been priced in.
"There is still too much oil," said Thomas McMahon, director of the Pan Asia Clearing Enterprise and former chief executive officer of the Singapore Mercantile Exchange. "But cheap dollars, technical disconnect and Egypt seems to be sweeping this aside. Common sense and supply demand will prevail but maybe not this week."
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
What's Happening This Week:
MONDAY: Google IPO anniversary; Earnings from Urban Outfitters
TUESDAY: Chicago Fed nat'l activity; Earnings from BHP Billiton, Home Depot, Medtronic, Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, TJX, Barnes & Noble, JCPenney, Saks, Analog Devices, La-Z- Boy
WEDNESDAY: Mortgage applications, existing home sales, oil inventories, FOMC minutes, Office Depot annual meeting; Earnings from Target, JM Smucker, Lowe's, Staples, American Eagle, Toll Brothers, Hewlett-Packard, L Brands
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, PMI manufacturing index flash, FHFA home price index, leading indicators, natural gas inventories, Fed's Fisher speaks, Fed balance sheet/money supply, Walmart summit; Earnings from Dollar Tree, Gamestop, Gold Fields, Hormel Foods, Sears, Abercrombie & Fitch, Autodesk, Gap, Marvell, Ross Stores, Aeropostale, Pandora
FRIDAY: New home sales; Earnings from Ann, Foot Locker
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