Investing.com -- U.S. stocks mostly held around the flatline on Monday, as investors geared up for a week of key economic data releases and a slew of quarterly corporate earnings.
By 09:35 ET (14:35 GMT), the benchmark S&P 500 was mostly unchanged but remained above the 5,000-point mark — a milestone it closed above for the first time ever on Friday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed by 0.1% and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average had shed 0.1%.
Investors will have the chance to parse through several speeches from Federal Reserve policymakers on Monday that could provide more insight into the path ahead for interest rates.
Hopes are rapidly fading that the Fed could slash rates as soon as its March meeting, particularly after Chair Jerome Powell said last month that inflation is still running above the central bank's 2% target. Powell later reiterated this stance, telling the CBS news show «60 Minutes» that the Fed can take a «prudent» approach to possible cuts.
Even still, he said that the U.S. economy seems to be on course for a so-called «soft landing,» a scenario in which the Fed successfully cools inflation without sparking an economic meltdown and steep job losses. However, Powell noted, the Fed must now find a way to balance the twin risks «moving too soon...or too late.»
He added that rate-setters will be keeping a close eye on upcoming data to confirm that inflation is continuing to ease. The comment amplifies the importance of Tuesday's publication of the U.S. consumer price index for January, which is expected to show that headline price growth in the world's largest economy slowed on both an annual and monthly basis.
A slew of corporate earnings is also due out this week, with more than 60 firmsRead more on investing.com