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U.S. stocks poised to squeeze in a gain as strong July closes out

U.S. stocks poised to squeeze in a gain as strong July closes out

WASHINGTON: U.S. stock-index futures indicated a slightly higher start for Wall Street on Monday, in what is shaping up to be the second-best month of the year for major indexes. Fresh factory readings out of China garnered attention, while U.S. data due later includes pending home sales and a regional manufacturing survey. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMU7, +0.27%  rose 45 points, or 0.2%, to 21,820, while S&P 500 futures ESU7, +0.13%  added 2.45 points, or 0.1%, to 2,472.75. Nasdaq-100 index futures NQU7, +0.22%  gained 14.25 points, or 0.2%, to 5,924.50. The three big indexes finished slightly lower on Friday, with the exception of the Dow industrials DJIA, +0.15% That benchmark closed at an all-time high of 21,830.31, for a gain of 0.2%. For the week, the DJIA also outperformed, rising 1.2%, while the other major indexes logged modest losses. July was shaping up to be the second-best month of the year, behind February, for the Dow and the S&P 500. With one more session to go, the DJIA is looking at a 2.25% monthly gain and the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.13% at a rise of 2%.

But technology stocks are set to log the best returns, with the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.12%  poised to rise 3.8%, which would mark the best month since January. Apple Inc. AAPL, +0.31%  may have a sway on how the rest of the week goes for tech stocks, and maybe the larger market, with the iPhone maker due to report results on Tuesday. Josh Mahony, market analyst at IG, said investors will be waiting to see if Apple can drive more record highs for indexes.  “Today marks the beginning of a massive week for the markets, representing a crossroads of big economic and corporate data. While last week saw 20% of the S&P 500 firms reporting, this week sees economic releases more than compensate for any drop-off in earnings data,” said Mahoney. Investors will be looking ahead to the closely U.S. watched monthly jobs data, scheduled for release on Friday.

Data updates expected to arrive Monday includes the Chicago purchasing managers index for July, due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time, and pending home sales for June at 10 a.m. Eastern. China data: U.S. stock futures were tracking gains in Europe and Asia. European mining stocks rose after data from China, a big buyer of industrial and precious metals, showed construction activity at its highest level since December 2013. But China manufacturing activity fell more than expected in July, which hinted of a slowdown in the world’s No. 2 economy.