September 21, 2015 / 11:46 AM / 3 years ago

Wall Street set to open higher after closing down last week

(Reuters) - Wall Street looked set to open higher on Monday following big losses at the end of last week as investors continued to assess the significance of the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep interest rates near zero.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Investors will be looking for more clarity on the Fed’s decision this week, when a number of central bank officials including Chair Janet Yellen, appear in public.

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart, a voting member of the Fed’s policy-making committee, speaks on Monday.

“We had a pretty dramatic selloff on Friday and it’s normal to see some gains after that,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin.

Friday’s selloff was exacerbated by “quadruple-witching”, when options on stocks and indexes, and futures on indexes and single-stocks all expire.

“I think we might see some volatility this week as investors peruse statements from the Fed officials as they look for more clarity and signals,” Frederick said.

Investors are now focusing on the next Fed meeting on Oct. 27-28, though a growing number of economists now wonder whether the Fed will raise rates at all this year.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told CNBC on Monday there is a powerful case to be made for a rate hike, which he said could come in October. Bullard is a non-voting member of the Fed.

Oil prices rose by more than 2 percent on Monday after data showed U.S. drilling slowed.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 9.75 points, or 0.5 percent, with 212,139 contracts traded at 8:38 a.m. ET (1238 GMT). Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 17.75 points, or 0.41 percent, on volume of 33,494 contracts. Dow e-minis were up 91 points, or 0.56 percent, with 30,728 contracts changing hands.

Chinese markets closed higher, with the Shanghai Composite index up 1.9 percent and the blue-chip CSI300 rising 1.75 percent.

China’s vice finance minister, Shi Yaobin, said the recent market volatility was a short-term issue and that the country could maintain a healthy economic growth rate going forward.

Concern about China’s economy was a major factor behind the recent turmoil in global markets.

U.S. data scheduled to be released on Monday includes existing home sales for August, which are expected to have dropped 1.3 percent after rising to an eight-year high in July. The numbers are expected at 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT).

Shares of Alibaba Group Holdings were down 0.8 percent at $65.19 in premarket trading after the lockup period on 63 percent of its shares ended on Saturday.

GoPro was down 4.2 percent at $33.66 after Barron’s said the video camera maker’s shares could plunge to $25 as its latest product launch underwhelmed customers amid increasing competition.

Chipmaker Atmel jumped 15.3 percent to $8.38, a day after Dialog Semiconductor said it had agreed to buy the company for about $4.6 billion.

Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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