Stock futures suggest consecutive losses for S&P 500

Stock-index futures pointed to a soft start for Wall Street Tuesday as investors look ahead to central-bank policy meetings and gauge developments on the U.S.-China trade front.

Apple Inc. was expected to be in the spotlight ahead of its iPhone launch event later in the day.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average  were down 44 points, or 0.2%, at 26,796, while S&P 500 futures  lost 6.2 points, or 0.2%, to 2,972. Nasdaq-100 futures  lost 21.75 points, or 0.3%, to 7,809.

Stocks ended mostly lower in lackluster trade Monday, with the S&P 500  giving up just 0.28 point to end at 2,978.43, ending a three-day win streak. The Dow , however, ended with a gain of 38.05 points, or 0.1%, at 26,835.51, to extend its winning streak to four session. The Nasdaq Composite  gave up 15.64 points, or 0.2%, to close at 8,087.44.

Stocks have been in rebound mode in September, however, after suffering their second losing month of 2019 in August. The S&P 500 is up 1.8% so far this month, while the Dow has gained 1.6% and he Nasdaq is up 1.6%. Major indexes sit not far below record territory last seen in July, with the S&P 500 and Dow ending Tuesday less than 2% below their all-time closing highs.

Concerns about the U.S.-China trade battle appear to have moved to the back burner for investors after being blamed for volatile market action in August. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday told Fox Business that he views renewed discussions with Beijing as a sign of good faith.

“The U.S. and China are due to meet next month, and according to Steven Mnuchin,…the U.S. is prepared to do a deal, as long as it is good for the U.S.,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, in a note. “The lack of hostilities between the U.S. and China is likely to keep stocks in their upward move.”

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The European Central Bank is expected to deliver additional stimulus when its policy makers meet Thursday, though some officials have appeared against expectations for an aggressive package of measures combining further interest-rate cuts with a new bond-buying program.

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The National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday said its small-business optimism index , its worst showing since March.

Data on July job openings is due at 10 a.m. Eastern and will be watched for clues to the health of the labor market.

Investors will be watching shares of Apple  as it holds an annual fall event to roll out new devices and offer more information about other elements of its business, including its fast-growing services segment. Apple is expected to introduce three upgraded iPhone models, as well as price points, and launch timing for new gaming and video subscriptions it showed off in a spring event.

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Shares of Ford Motor Co.  were down 3.4% in premarket action. Moody’s Investors Service late Monday to Ba1, the first rung of “junk,” or non-investment speculative grade, from Baa3, citing “considerable operating and market challenges” and predicted “weak earnings and cash generation likely as the company pursues a lengthy and costly restructuring plan.”

Shares of HD Supply Holdings Inc.  were down around 7% in premarket action after the industrial distribution company reported a fiscal second-quarter profit that topped expectations , while also providing a downbeat outlook for the current quarter.

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