US stock futures rise amid waning expectations for a near-term Fed hike – MarketWatch

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Wall Street stocks were poised to start August on a positive note, with futures higher on Monday after last week’s soft growth data reduced bets for a Federal Reserve interest-rate hike in the near term.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMU6, +0.23%  rose 49 points, or 0.3%, to 18,411, while S&P 500 futures ESU6, +0.18%  added 4.8 points, or 0.2%, to 2,173. Nasdaq-100 futures NQU6, +0.15%  gained 8 points, or 0.2%, to 4,734.75.

The S&P 500 SPX, +0.16%  just missed a record closing high Friday, while the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.14%   booked its best finish in more than a year, as Wall Street shook off concerns about sluggish second-quarter domestic growth to finish with tepid gains. The Dow industrials DJIA, -0.13%  ended in negative territory.

Last week’s positive sentiment was carrying over to a new month of trading Monday, as the prospects for a near-term Fed interest rate hike appeared to fade. The chances of a rise in U.S. interest rates fell to 12% from 18%, Fed Funds futures data from the CME Group showed.

The market appeared to brush aside comments from Bank of New York President William Dudley, who argued Sunday that an interest-rate hike this year shouldn’t be ruled out. He made the comments in Bali, in remarks prepared for a joint central-bank seminar between the New York Fed and Bank Indonesia.

Economic docket: Data on the calendar includes the Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for July, set for release at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for July is expected at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Investors will also keep their eyes out for another batch of earnings as the season winds down, though there are no major companies reporting Monday. Sixty-three percent of S&P 500 companies have announced quarterly results thus far, with 71% beating on earnings and 57% reporting revenue above estimates, FactSet data show.

Read: This aging bull market can grind out more all-time highs

Stocks to watch: Shares in Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA, +1.81%  and SolarCity Corp. SCTY, -0.67%  could be active after a report in Reuters that the two could announce a merger as soon as Monday.

Meanwhile, Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing Technology Co. has agreed to buy the China operations of Uber Technologies Inc., according to sources, with news of a deal possibly coming Monday. UberChina is backed by China’s search giant Baidu Inc. BIDU, -3.64%  , while Didi’s backers include e-commerce group Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA, -0.77%  and internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. 0700, -1.07%  

Skydiver free falls 25,000 feet with no parachute

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Hollywood stuntman Luke Aikins became the first person to complete a skydive without a parachute or wingsuit Saturday.

Other markets: European stocks SXXP, -0.08%  pared gains made in early action, with banks turning lower after rising at the open after European Union banking stress tests eased worries about the health of the sector.

In Asia, ADOW, +1.40%  stocks finished mixed, with the Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, -0.87%  down 0.9% after China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for July indicated contraction for the first time in five months. Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 index NIK, +0.40% and other Asian markets rose, benefiting from diminished chances for a U.S. rate hike.

The yen, meanwhile, weakened against the U.S. dollar USDJPY, +0.10%  after disappointing easing action from the Bank of Japan last week.

Oil prices CLU6, -0.94%  and gold GCQ6, -0.11%  traded moderately lower.

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