How the Almighty Dollar Will Tell You Where Stocks Are Going Next

Critical information ahead of the U.S. market’s open

by Barbara Kollmeyer
Market Watch

Don’t look to earnings to bust this market out of its rut.

Stock futures are pointing lower even as Microsoft rockets toward a record, trading in premarket action above its dot-com peak after its latest results. Goldman and Netflix also fired off some pretty decent earnings this week, but with one session left to go, the S&P 500 SPX, -0.39% is up just 0.4% for the week, while the Dow DJIA, -0.54% is limping along with a 0.1% gain. The Nasdaq COMP, -0.06% is faring marginally better at a 0.5% advance for this week. October on the whole, so far, is looking like a mild loser.

There’s more to the stock-market malaise than earnings. Fed rate-hike prospects, a strong dollar and a bonkers U.S. election are all helping to keep investors tepid on riskier assets, strategists say.

The stalemate goes beyond just a few days.

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