Investing.com - Wall Street futures pointed to a flat to lower open on Monday as markets looked ahead to appearances from a string of Federal Reserve policymakers amid political uncertainties elsewhere.
The blue-chip Dow futures slipped 11 points, or 0.05% by 6:56AM ET (10:56GMT), the S&P 500 futures dropped 2 points, or 0.06%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures edged down 4 points, or 0.07%.
With no major economic reports on Monday’s docket, market participants will focus on remarks from Fed officials as they seek to gauge the move forward in the removal of accommodation after the U.S. central bank announced the previous week that it would begin tapering its balance sheet.
New York Fed president William Dudley will be speaking at 8:30AM ET (12:30GMT). The influential policymaker that is generally considered to be the most aligned with Fed chair Janet Yellen’s way of thinking will be talking on workforce development, but Dudley may be questioned about his policy outlook in the posterior Q&A.
Chicago Fed chief Charles Evans will be speaking at an economic luncheon at 12:40PM ET (16:40GMT).
At 6:30PM ET (22:30GMT), Minneapolis Fed president Neel Kashkari will deliver a lecture on the Federal Reserve though further details had yet to be provided.
The comments will set the groundwork for the week’s main appearance by Yellen herself on Tuesday. The Fed chair is scheduled to deliver a widely-anticipated speech on “Inflation, Uncertainty and Monetary Policy”.
In company news, Swiss engineering firm ABB (SIX:ABBN) confirmed Monday that it will buy General Electric 's (NYSE:GE) industrial solutions business for $2.6 billion.
Elsewhere, markets were reacting to various political events with European investors digesting the results of the German elections, which showed surging support for a far-right party that left Chancellor Angela Merkel scrambling to form a governing coalition and led to a sell-off in the euro. Germany’s DAX managed to advance 0.26% by 6:57AM ET (10:57GMT), although most of Europe’s major bourses were in the red in early afternoon trading.
Politics were also in the spotlight in Japan, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announcing at a press conference that he plans to dissolve parliament on Thursday and call a snap election for next month. The move comes as Abe seeks to take advantage of improved ratings and opposition disarray, despite criticism that he is creating a political vacuum amid worries over North Korea.
Japan’s Nikkei closed 0.5% higher Monday in what was otherwise a relatively mixed to negative note for Asian shares.
Meanwhile, oil prices felt some pressure from a stronger dollar on Monday, though Brent managed to hold solid gains amid optimism that the crude market was well on its way towards rebalancing.
Market participants mulled over data showing the number of oil rigs continued to decline, suggesting a possible tightening in domestic production.
Late Friday, oilfield services firm Baker Hughes said its weekly count of oil rigs operating in the U.S. declined by 5 to 744, marking the third weekly decline in a row.
On Monday, U.S. crude futures edged forward 0.02% to $50.67 by 6:58AM ET (10:58GMT), while Brent oil traded up 0.80% to $56.87.