U.S. stock futures were struggling to make headway early Tuesday as traders kept their powder dry ahead of Apple’s marketing event later in the session and important inflation and retail sales data in coming days.

How are stock-index futures trading

  • S&P 500 futures
    dipped 11 points, or 0.2%, to 4528

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
    fell 56 points, or 0.2%, to 34956

  • Nasdaq 100 futures
    eased 47 points, or 0.3%, to 15628

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 87 points, or 0.25%, to 34664, the S&P 500
increased 30 points, or 0.67%, to 4487, and the Nasdaq Composite
gained 156 points, or 1.14%, to 13918.

What’s driving markets

Traders appear reluctant to make bold bullish bets ahead of a batch of potential market catalysts over the next few sessions.

Apple shares
are a fraction firmer in premarket action as investors wait to see what the world’s biggest listed company has in store at its marketing event, due to start at noon Eastern, in which it is expected to reveal new iPhones.

“Welcome to my annual day of being seduced into buying a new iPhone that I don’t really need but desperately want. Apple launch their new product suite today which actually is a potential macro mover,” said Jim Reid, strategist at Deutsche Bank.

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Appetite for big technology stocks will also be put to the test Wednesday, when U.K.-based chip designer ARM launches its $50 billion listing in New York.

“ARM which prepares to announce its IPO price tomorrow, has been oversubscribed by 10 times already and bankers will stop taking orders by today,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank. “The promising demand could also encourage an upward revision to the IPO price, and we could eventually see the kind of market debut that we like!” 

Another factor keeping bullish equity sentiment in check was the sight of benchmark U.S. 10-year borrowing costs
holding just several points shy of their highest levels since 2008 as the market eyed important economic updates.

The U.S. consumer price index report for August will be published Wednesday, followed the next day by August producer prices and retail sales numbers — data that may impact the Federal Reserve’s thinking ahead of its policy deliberations next week and at its next meeting in November.

“[G]iven persistent pressures on service prices, the resurgence of oil prices, and the diminishing impact of favorable base effects, it appears unlikely that headline inflation will return to the desired 2% target any time soon. Hence, the path ahead remains challenging, and the Federal Reserve still faces a lengthy journey in its efforts to stabilize the economy,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.

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“U.S. equity markets should likely show their hand this week after recent churning…It’s thought that weaker than expected data could be instrumental for causing Treasury yields to fall, and vice-versa,” said Mark Newton, head of techical strategy at Fundstrat.

“Until there’s a strong breakout in either direction, the trend over the past month has been neutral, not bullish nor bearish. However, breaks of either 4541 to the upside [for the S&P 500], or 4430 to the downside, should be important,” Newton added.

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