Stocks Pause Ahead of Busy Week

Stocks Pause Ahead of Busy Week

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock markets around the world took a pause on Monday from their record-setting run ahead of a busy week for markets. Investors are waiting to see whom President Donald Trump's will pick to head the Federal Reserve, what several of the world's biggest central banks will decide on interest rates and whether Apple and other big U.S. companies can keep piling their profits higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 dipped by 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,577, as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. Losses for health care stocks helped offset gains for energy and technology companies. The index closed at a record on Friday after climbing for seven straight weeks, its longest such streak since 2014.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 30 points, or 0.1 percent, to 23,404, and the Nasdaq composite rose 10 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,712.

FED WATCH: Investors expect Trump to announce his choice for the next chair of the Federal Reserve by the end of the week. The central bank has played a pivotal role in the economy's recovery from the Great Recession and the stock market's leap to record after record. Chair Janet Yellen's term is scheduled to end in February, and she is one of Trump's finalists, but speculation has centered on others to succeed her.

The choice will have far-ranging effects on the markets, particularly if the new chair advocates a more aggressive policy in raising interest rates than Yellen has. Low interest rates have helped to push returns higher for bond funds, stocks and all kinds of investments around the world.

BUY BUY: Consumer spending in the United States accelerated last month, led by a big pickup in auto sales, reaching its strongest level since the summer of 2009. Incomes also rose 0.4 percent from the prior month, which was in line with economists' expectations.

The week's highlight economic report will arrive on Friday, when the government will give its monthly update on how many jobs the economy created.

More signs of a strengthening economy could give the Federal Reserve more leeway to raise interest rates, and many economists expect the next increase to happen in December.

FED MEETING: Little is expected from the Fed's meeting this week, though. The Federal Reserve will end a two-day meeting on Wednesday.

Other central banks meeting this week include the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England.

EARNINGS WATCH: Strong earnings growth has helped to drive the stock market higher, and tech stocks have been delivering some of the most consistent growth. Companies are in the midst of reporting their results for the July-through-September quarter, and companies will likely need to deliver continued growth in order to justify their big stock-price gains.

Apple will report its results on Thursday and is one of more than 100 companies in the S&P 500 scheduled for the week.

AROUND THE WORLD: European stock markets were modestly higher, with the French CAC 40 up 0.1 percent and Germany's DAX up 0.2 percent. The FTSE 100 in London dipped 0.2 percent.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index was virtually flat, South Korea's Kospi rose 0.2 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.4 percent.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 47 cents to $54.37 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 54 cents to $60.67 per barrel. Natural gas gained 3 cents to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold held steady at $1,274.00 per ounce, up $2.20. Silver rose 3 cents to $16.78 per ounce, and copper fell a penny to $3.10 per pound.

CURRENCY: The dollar dipped to 113.4 Japanese yen from 113.81 yen late Friday. The euro rose to $1.1619 from $1.1599, and the British pound inched up to $1.3190 from $1.3125.

YIELDS: Bond yields fell as prices for Treasurys rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.39 percent. The two-year yield dipped to 1.58 percent from 1.60 percent late Friday, and the 30-year yield sank to 2.90 percent from 2.92 percent.

(BE)