The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a lower opening on Monday following the mixed performance seen last week. Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday. While the Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates by a quarter point, traders will be paying close attention to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for rates.

Source: ADVFN Newsdesk <newsdesk@advfn.co.uk>

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After reaching record intraday highs early in the session, stocks gave back some ground over the course of the trading day on Friday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq pulled back firmly into negative territory, but the Dow managed to close in positive territory. While the Dow climbed 89.44 points or 0.4 percent to 21,271.97, the Nasdaq tumbled 113.85 points or 1.8 percent to 6,207.92 and the S&P 500 edged down 2.02 points or 0.1 percent to 2,431.77.

The major averages also turned in a mixed performance for the week. The Dow rose by 0.3 percent, while the Nasdaq slumped by 1.6 percent and the S&P 500 fell by 0.3 percent. The sharp pullback seen by the Nasdaq came as traders cashed in on some of the recent strength among technology stocks.

Semiconductor stocks showed a substantial move to the downside, dragging the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down by 4.2 percent. The index ended the previous session at its best closing level in over sixteen years. Graphics chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) led the sector lower following recent strength, tumbling 6.5 percent from the record closing high set on Thursday.

Internet, software, and computer hardware stocks also moved significantly lower, reflecting weakness throughout the tech sector. Tech giant Apple (AAPL) plunged by 3.9 percent. On the other hand, energy stocks moved sharply higher on the day, regaining some ground after coming under pressure in recent sessions.  Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index spiked by 3.7 percent, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index surged up by 3 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil & Gas Index jumped by 2.3 percent.

The rebound by energy stocks came as the price of crude oil for July delivery rose $0.19 to $45.83 a barrel after ending the previous session at its lowest closing level in over a month. Financial stocks also saw considerable strength, with the Dow Jones Banks Index and the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index jumping by 2.5 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. The rally by financial stocks came after House Republicans voted Thursday to pass a bill rolling back many of the banking regulations put in place in response to the 2008 financial crisis.

Traders were also digesting the unexpected outcome of the U.K. elections in which no party gained a clear majority, resulting in a hung parliament. The election backfired on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative party, who had expected to expand their majority. In remarks this morning, May indicated she would work with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to form a government and provide certainty for the British people.

“Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over the many years,” May said. “This gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom.” Meanwhile, traders were also looking ahead to next week’s monetary policy announcement by the Federal Reserve.

CME Group’s FedWatch Tool indicates a 99.6 percent chance that the Fed will raise interest rates by a quarter point next week. With the Fed widely expected to raise rates, traders will pay close attention to the accompanying statement for clues about future rate hikes.

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