Investors are lingering in the wings, waiting for Spain to ask for a bailout and for U.S. economic data to set the stage for more active trading.
They will be watching Wednesday's monthly U.S. private payrolls report from ADP as well as a services sector survey from the Institute for Supply Management, though Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls figures for September are the most important numbers for the week.
Sentiment was also soft after a euro zone purchasing manager's survey showed the region most likely slipped into its second recession in three years during the September quarter. The Markit Eurozone Composite PMI fell to 46.1 in September from 46.3 in August. Any reading below 50 indicates economic contraction.
European markets were generally mixed, dipping in and out of the red. The euro steadied against the U.S. dollar around $1.2924, well above a three-week low of $1.28035 reached on Monday, underpinned by the belief that Spain will eventually request financial aid. That would prompt the European Central Bank to buy Spanish bonds and boost the euro.
Spain's prime minister has indicated his cash-strapped country is not in a rush to request a bailout. Madrid is under pressure to ask for aid from the European Central Bank to rein in borrowing costs, but the government is wary of conditions that a bailout may impose on its spending. Germany is also pushing Spain to delay seeking assistance.
Now, here's the rundown of what else you need to know before the trading day gets underway:
Futures: Dow -0.01 per cent, S&P 500 -0.03 per cent, Nasdaq +0.11 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index +0.23 per cent
Japan's Nikkei -0.45 per cent
London's FTSE 100 +0.09 per cent
France's CAC 40 -0.29 per cent
Germany's DAX index +0.04 per cent
WTI (Nymex Nov) -0.62 per cent at $91.32 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex Dec) +0.18 per cent at $1,778.80 (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex Dec) -0.02 per cent at $3.78 (U.S.) a pound
Canadian dollar down 0.002, or 0.196 per cent, at $1.016 (U.S.)
STOCKS AND ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:
(0815 a.m. ET) ADP releases its private payroll employment report for September. Economists expect a gain of 140,000 jobs, softening from 201,000 in August.
(1000 a.m. ET) The U.S. Institute for Supply Management issues its services index for September. Economists expect a reading of 53.5.
Earnings include Family Dollar Stores Inc., Marriott International Inc. and Monsanto Co.
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