Market Snapshot: Wall Street set for fresh record highs after October rally

U.S. stock futures rose Monday, setting the stage for further records ahead of a pivotal Federal Reserve decision later in the week.

What’s happening
  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average YM00, +0.45% rose 163 points, or 0.5%, to 35867
  • Futures on the S&P 500 ES00, +0.44% gained 0.4%, or 19 points, to 4616
  • Futures on the Nasdaq 100 NQ00, +0.41% added 0.4%, or 55 points, to 15893

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.25% rose 89 points, or 0.25%, to 35820, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.19% increased 9 points, or 0.19%, to 4605, and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.33% gained 50 points, or 0.33%, to 15498, with each major index registering a record high. Last month’s 7% rise for the S&P 500 was the best since Nov. 2020, after the U.S. election and Pfizer first announced the results of a study into its COVID-19 vaccine.

What’s driving markets

The backdrop for the stock market’s gains have been impressive earnings. According to Credit Suisse, earnings by S&P 500 companies have beaten estimates by 10% in the third quarter.

The Fed will announce its latest monetary policy decision on Wednesday, with expectations it will finally announce the tapering of asset purchases. Traders will be closely scrutinizing the commentary around its latest actions.

“We expect [Fed Chair Jerome] Powell will not actively push back on market pricing of rate hikes given elevated uncertainty about the outlook, particularly as it relates to upside inflation risks,” said Deutsche Bank economists led by Matthew Luzzetti.

Also contributing to an upbeat tone was a weekend deal on steel and aluminum tariffs from the U.S. and European Union, as well as a convincing win for the ruling LDP party in Japan that sent the Nikkei 225 NIK, +2.61% higher.

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