U.S. stock market index futures declined Tuesday as traders wrap up what has been a strong month for equities. Futures tied to the S&P 500 dipped 0.1%, while futures connected to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 0.2%, or 75 points. Nasdaq-100 futures dropped 0.2%. Caterpillar shares fell more than 2% in the premarket after the industrial giant posted its latest quarterly results. Meanwhile, General Motors shares jumped more than 4% in premarket trading after reporting strong earnings. Those moves build on Monday’s declines. The Dow lost 0.8% in the previous session, while the S&P and Nasdaq Composite fell 1.30% and 1.96%, respectively. It’s been a stellar January for stocks, otherwise. As of Monday’s close, the S&P 500 and Dow are up 4.64% and 1.72% in January, respectively, and headed for their third positive month in four. The S&P 500 is also on track for its best January since 2019. The Nasdaq Composite has risen 8.86% this month, putting it on pace for its best monthly performance since July. “The reason I’ve been optimistic on equities to start the year is because revisions are mostly behind us, people got too negative,” Trivariate Research’s Adam Parker told CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Monday. A solid January could be a good sign for the market, and potentially foreshadow a continued uptick in the months that follow. Of the five instances in which the S&P gained more than 5% in January after a negative year, the benchmark index rose 30% for the year on average, said Carson Group’s Ryan Detrick in a tweet. However, a busy week of earnings could put this recent rally in jeopardy. Investors are watching closely for comments on how some of the largest companies are faring amid high inflation and fears of slowing consumer spending. Attention also turns to the latest interest rate decision due out of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting kicking off Tuesday. Traders widely expect a 25 basis point increase, but will monitor commentary for clues into how much further the Fed intends to hike, or when it plans to cut rates. Asia-Pacific shares traded mostly down on Tuesday as investors digested a range of economic data and a potential interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.75%. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite dipped 0.42% to 3,255.67 and the Shenzhen Component was down 0.8% to close at 12,001.26 as China’s official manufacturing PMI reported a reading of 50.1, above the 50-point mark separating growth from contraction. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed slightly below the flatline at 7,476.7. Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended 0.39% down at 27,327.11 and the Topix lost 0.36% to 1,975.27 as Japan reported an unemployment rate of 2.5% for December, in line with expectations. South Korean benchmark Kospi declined 1% to 2,425.08 while the Kosdaq added 0.25% to 740.49. Oil prices fell on Tuesday, touching two-week lows on the prospect of further interest rate increases, a stronger U.S. dollar and ample Russian crude flows. March Brent crude futures were 86 cents, or 1%, lower at $84.04 per barrel, having touched their weakest level since Jan. 13 earlier in the session. The March contract expires on Tuesday and the more heavily traded April contract fell by 79 cents, or 0.9%, to $83.71. Likewise, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were 88 cents, or 1.1%, lower at $77.02 a barrel, having slipped to their lowest since Jan. 11. Gold prices eased on Tuesday, but were en route to their third straight monthly gain, as market participants awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve policy decision later this week. Spot gold was down 1% at $1,902.75 per ounce. The contract, however, was headed for a monthly gain of 4%. U.S. gold futures were down 1.1% at $1,902. The dollar index held steady but was set for a fourth consecutive monthly drop. A weaker greenback tends to make dollar-priced bullion an attractive bet.
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