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US stock futures tread water; Asia boosted by Chinese reforms

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat-to-higher open on Monday, with stocks in Europe trading cautiously, due to ongoing concerns about a tapering off of the Federal Reserve's asset buying program.

(Read more: Christmas taper coming? This week will drop a hint)

This follows six weeks of record-breaking gains for the S&P 500.

China-exposed mining companies were buoyed by the unveiling of reforms in the country in early European trade. The reforms include easing the one-child policy, implementing residence registration reforms, allowing market pricing of key resources and further financial liberalization. The reform plans got a thumbs-up from Hong Kong and mainland China benchmark indexes, with the Shanghai Composite ending nearly 3 percent higher.

"The reform package will have a long-lasting positive impact on China's equity market outlook," Deutsche Bank said in a report, which forecast the MSCI China index would gain 20-25 percent over the next 12 months.

"We expect market sentiment to be significantly lifted,as investors will gradually understand the increase in China's growth potential and the improving sustainability of the economic, financial, real estate, and social security systems due to reforms," it said.

(Read more: China's economic reforms: What you need to know)

A few critical clues about Fed tapering could come this week. A speech by Chairman Ben Bernanke in Washington is expected on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday, the release of minutes from the Fed's October meeting are due. In addition, taper-related scrutiny of the jobs market will give Thursday's initial jobless claims data an added importance.

On Monday, the NAHB Housing Market Index for November will be released at 10 a.m. ET.

Retailers will be the bulk of companies reporting earnings this week, with names on Monday including Tyson Foods before the start of U.S.trade.

In other stocks news, German-listed Boeing shares rose. Boeing kicked off the Dubai Air Show on Sunday by announcing 259 orders for its new 777X, totaling over $95 billion at list prices.

(Read more: Boeing: 'Not anticipating any more 777 orders')

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato

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