U.S stock index futures slumped Monday evening, moving lower to start the short week after a relatively quiet trading session on Friday.
Even stronger-than-expected inflation data and a speech from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen failed to stir markets to action on Friday as the S&P 500 declined by 0.22% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.29%. The Nasdaq ticked lower by 0.03%.
Tonight, the Dow futures moved lower by 16 points, down about 0.09% in New York, with other index futures also moving to the downside. S&P 500 E-mini futures fell 0.12% and Nasdaq 100 E-mini futures were lower by 0.08%.
The euro edged up 0.05% against the dollar and the pound was also slightly higher, rising 0.03%.
More merger news developed over the long weekend, with Charter Communications (CHTR) reportedly nearing its acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) in a roughly $55 billion deal, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Abroad, the Australian gold and nickel miner Sirius Resources reportedly agreed on Monday to a cash-and-shares takeover offer worth about $1.4 billion by a bigger Australian rival Independence Group, the Journal reported.
Also in metals, the Canadian miner Barrick Gold (ABX) said it would sell an Australian gold operation to local miner Evolution Mining for about $550 million, as the miner aims to reduce its debt, the Journal also reported.
Looking ahead, we'll keep an eye on the following reports and data this week.
After the holiday today, Tuesday brings earnings results from AutoZone (AZO) and Workday (WDAY). AutoZone is poised to perform well as a harsh winter season most likely had customers looking to repair their vehicles that took a beating from the elements. Also, the average age of cars on U.S. roads is about 12 years, according to research firm IHS, a favorable statistic for the company.
"The stock frequently trades down instantly on the quarter and that's your chance to buy before the buybacks kick in again," TheStreet.com's Market Commentator Jim Cramer said.
Cramer likes Workday's potential to move the tech cohort if it beats, which could bring some nice price action to Red Hat (RHT), Tableau (DATA), ServiceNow (NOW) and Splunk (SPLK).
"I am a huge fan of Aneel Bhusri, the CEO, and recently interviewed him and I think the company's winning a ton of business that might otherwise have gone to Oracle or SAP," Cramer said.
On Wednesday, expect reports from Michael Kors (KORS), DSW (DSW), Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen (PLKI), and Costco (COST). Also Humana (HUM) hosts its analyst meeting.
"Paulo Alto hit a new high last week, but the cybersecurity stocks have the most momentum of any I have ever seen," Cramer said. "We would love to own Costco or Humana for Action Alerts PLUS on any weakness and Costco's already tempting right here, but we have enough retail exposure with Target (TGT) and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WAG)."
Michael Kors is "on sale," according to Wedbush analysts, but the firm remains Neutral on the name, saying it's too early to make a call on stabilization due to steady sequential slowing in same-store sales, traffic and EBIT margin in recent quarters and higher promotions in the handbag category.
"I don't like the accessories group here; too volatile and fashion oriented, so I say take a pass on this one," Cramer told his viewers on CNBC's "Mad Money."
DSW is also a retail play, so while it does appear to offer value, uncertainty in the sector may keep investors at bay.
"One day, if the stock stays down here, someone will take a run at this company's shares," Cramer said. "It's just too cheap."
Cramer also says to watch the Humana analyst meeting where the company is expected to lay out its strategy for cost containment.
"I've been pounding the table for you to own something in the healthcare segment because I think consolidation is imminent and Humana is often thought to be a target, as is Cigna," Cramer noted.
On Thursday, Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Avago (AVGO) report. Teen retail is a particular subsector that has struggled to hold the attention of its fickle customer base and management already said that it expected the early part of 2015 to be challenging. After a 14% drop in revenue in the latest quarter and a 10% drop in same-store sales, I expect the challenges to continue through at least a couple more quarters if not more. The stock is down 27% year to date.
Avago looks strong and should continue to benefit from its supplier relationship with Apple (AAPL). Specifically, recent trends in the expected evolution of iPhone architectures could position the company for even more upside.
On Friday, Big Lots (BIG) reports. Cramer said he hasn't been impressed with this company, even though it represents a decent risk to reward at these prices.
Additionally, the Chicago purchasing manager report is due out Friday. Cramer thinks it will be weak when taking into consideration the strong dollar's impact on exports. If the number is weak enough, you can expect even more discussions on the Fed hiking rates.