Wall St set for another month of gains as futures hold steady

(Corrects headline to say “Wall St”)

FILE PHOTO: A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks futures held steady on Tuesday, putting the main indexes on course to end August on a firm footing, as investors shrugged off risks around rising coronavirus infections on hopes that the Federal Reserve’s dovish stance would support economic growth.

The benchmark S&P 500 is set for its seventh consecutive month of gains after Fed Chair Jerome Powell last week sounded a cautious note on tapering its massive asset purchases.

The indexes closed at record levels on Monday, bolstered by large technology stocks, which generally perform well in a low-interest rate environment.

Heavyweights Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com, Google-owner Alphabet Inc were trading marginally lower in premarket trading on Tuesday.

Zoom Video Communications Inc tumbled 11.7% as it signaled a faster-than-expected easing in demand for its video-conferencing service after a pandemic-driven boom.

Oil majors Chevron Corp, Exxon Mobil and Schlumberger slipped around 0.2%, tracking weaker oil prices ahead of a meeting by OPEC and allies amid U.S. calls to pump more crude. [O/R]

While a strong recovery in economic growth and corporate earnings have put the S&P 500 on pace for its longest monthly winning run since 2018, investors are concerned about rising coronavirus cases and how quickly the Fed will tighten monetary policy once it begins its taper.

A Reuters poll last week showed strategists believe the S&P 500 is likely to end 2021 not far from its current level.

Investors will also focus on the U.S. monthly jobs data later in the week, which could feed into the Fed’s decision at its September policy meeting.

At 7:01 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 2 points, or 0.01%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 1.5 points, or 0.03%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 14.5 points, or 0.09%.

Apple slipped 0.3% after South Korea’s parliament approved a bill that bans major app store operators from forcing software developers to use their payment systems. Google-owner Alphabet was flat.

(This story was refiled to say Wall St. in the headline)

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