- ISM services index eases in December
- Factory orders beat expectations in November
- Yellen to be confirmed as Fed Chair
- T-Mobile in 3.3bn-dollar spectrum deal with VZW
Dow Jones: 0.03%
S&P 500: -0.01%
US markets opened flat to slightly lower on Monday morning in New York as investors geared up for a busy week, with figures released today showing a slowdown in service-sector growth across the globe during December.
"Trading volumes should pick up significantly this week, as traders return to their desks following the festive period and the number of potential catalysts also rises substantially," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
While US service-sector data and factory orders were in focus today, the minutes of the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting and the all-important jobs report due out later on in the week are likely to grab the most attention.
"This week should go a long way to telling us whether the Fed made the right decision last month in deciding to reduce the pace of its asset purchases, or whether it should have waited for more proof that the recovery is in fact sustainable," Erlam said.
The US Senate is also anticipated to shortly confirm Janet Yellen as Fed Chair to succeed Ben Bernanke who steps down at the end of the month. She would take over on February 1st.
Acting as a backdrop, the Financial Times wrote today on how US shares
- when measured by the cyclically-adjusted price-to-earnings (Cape) multiple - are overpriced. The so-called Shiller Cape for the US stockmarket now stands at 25, almost exactly where it was standing at its last peak, in 2007.
Economic data in focus
The Institute for Supply Management's US non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) for December unexpectedly fell from 53.9 to 53, showing that activity growth eased last month. Analysts had expected the PMI to rise to 54.7.
This follows a raft of service-sector PMIs released earlier today which showed that growth had also slowed slightly last month in China, the Eurozone and the UK.
Separately, data showed that factory orders in the US rose 1.8% in November compared with a revised 0.5% fall in October and ahead of the 1.7% gain expected.
T-Mobile to buy spectrum from Verizon
T-Mobile's shares gained after the US wireless carrier agreed to buy spectrum licences from Verizon Wireless for about $2.4bn, along with the transfer of spectrum worth $950m. "This is a great opportunity to secure low-band spectrum in many of the top markets in America," said T-Mobile Chief Exectuvie John Legere.
Intel fell ahead of a speech by its Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich who is set to announce the chipmaker's latest strategy at the International Consumer Electronics Show today.
General Electric edged lower after saying it will buy some assets from Thermo Scientific for about $1.06bn to grow its life sciences division.
Solar power firm SolarCity jumped early on after Goldman Sachs added the stock to its 'conviction buy' list, while First Solar fell after the bank downgraded it to 'sell'.