S&P 500 Futures Cling to Records Ahead of Earnings

U.S. stocks struggled for gains Monday, with the major indexes holding at or near record levels ahead of an active week on the earnings calendar.

The large-cap S&P 500 Index closed at 2,459.14, holding relatively flat for the day. The benchmark index traded within a narrow five-point band after finishing at record highs on Friday. For the year, the S&P 500 has returned nearly 10%.

Five of 11 sectors emerged as gainers Monday. The defensive utilities sector was the strongest performer, adding 0.4%. Shares of consumer discretionary stocks rose 0.3%. Telecommunications and materials each added 0.2%.

Health stocks lagged the broader market, falling 0.3%.

A measure of implied volatility over the next 30 days rose on Monday after ending the previous week near multi-decade lows. The CBOE VIX continues to trade below 10.00, or at a fraction of its historic mean.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed flat at 21,629.72. The tech-driven Nasdaq Composite Index was also range-bound, finishing flat at 6,314.43.

Sixty-eight S&P 500 companies will report quarterly results this week, according to financial research firm FactSet. Among those include Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC), Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS). Analysts another solid quarter of earnings, with energy, financials and information technology leading the rally.

At this time last year, Wall Street was mired in a so-called earnings recession.

There were no major economic reports scheduled for release on Monday. The Commerce Department will report on export and import prices in the following session followed by housing data on Wednesday.

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Sam Bourgi is a financial market analyst for economiccalendar.com. He has more than six years of progressive experience in economic and financial analysis, research consulting and sectoral analysis. As a published author in government, peer-reviewed, online and industry sources, he has developed a fundamental approach to the financial markets with a broad focus on stock indices, commodities and the technology sector. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Windsor and Master’s degree from McMaster University.