U.S. stock futures inch higher with earnings, Trump-Putin summit in focus

U.S. stock futures edged up Monday, putting the equity market on track to build on last week’s rally as investors looked for another batch of high-profile earnings reports to help steer trading.

A highly anticipated meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin was also in focus.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMU8, +0.19% rose 49 points, or 0.2%, to 25,053, while those for the S&P 500 index ESU8, +0.12% picked up 2.55 points, or 0.1%, to 2,805.75. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index NQU8, +0.20% added 8.25 points, or 0.1%, to 7,401.25.

The small gains come after all three benchmarks managed to eke out gains on Friday, which were enough to send the Dow DJIA, +0.38% above 25,000 for the first time in a month and for the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.03% to score a fresh closing record. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.11% rose 0.1%, to 2,801.31, representing the first finish above the round-number level at 2,800 since Feb.1, according to FactSet data.

Earnings continued to be a main focus for investors after the second-quarter results season got underway in earnest on Friday, when three of the major U.S. banks reported. On Monday, the flow of results continues, with J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.JBHT, +0.81% , BlackRock Inc.BLK, +0.08% and Bank of America Corp.BAC, -0.76% slated to report ahead of the bell. Streaming giant Netflix Inc.NFLX, -4.28% is expected to publish earnings after the close.

Across the pond, all eyes were on the meeting between Trump and Putin in Finland on Monday. The two leaders are expected to discuss arms control, alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 election and Ukraine. Analysts said the summit will be eyed for any hints that the U.S. sanctions against Russia will be lifted.

Trump said in an interview ahead of the summit that he’s going into the meeting “with low expectations.”

“The key focus for investors is the U.S. and Russia’s meeting — the main event of the week. Last week at the NATO summit, there was a lot of drama. It kept investors on the edge. A similar scenario is likely to play out this week as well,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK, in a note.

If Trump and Putin’s relationship improves, that could lead to more friction between the U.S. and the EU, and that could hit European markets and U.S. markets, Aslam added.

Retail sales data for June are due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time and are expected to show an increase of 0.5% last month, according to economists surveyed by MarketWatch.

The Empire Sate index for July is on the docket at 8:30 a.m. Eastern as well, followed by a report on business inventories in May at 10 a.m. Eastern.

There were no Federal Reserve officials slated to give speeches on Monday.

Shares in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.GS, -0.36% could be active after The New York Times reported late Sunday that the banking major is planning to name President David Solomon to succeed Lloyd Blankfein as chief executive officer as early as this week.

Investors were also likely to keep an eye on Amazon.com Inc.AMZN, +0.91% as the online retailer kicks off its highly anticipated Prime Day.

Asian markets closed mostly lower after a mixed bag of Chinese data. Gross domestic product in the world’s second largest economy grew 6.7% in the second quarter, down slightly from 6.8% in the first three months of the year.

In Europe, stocks traded mixed.

The dollar slipped against most major currencies, sending the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.11% down 0.1% to 94.686.

Oil prices CLQ8, -0.63% were lower, while gold GCQ8, +0.18% inched 0.2% higher to $1,243.30 an ounce.

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