November 5, 2018 / 12:57 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Futures muted as election uncertainty, rate fears weigh

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* Futures: Dow 0.04 pct, S&P 0.07 pct, Nasdaq 0.03 pct

By Sruthi Shankar

Nov 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Monday, with little impetus moving markets as election campaigns heat up ahead of crucial U.S. midterm elections and a Federal Reserve meeting this week.

Opinion polls show a strong chance for President Donald Trump’s Republican Party holding the Senate but losing control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats that would come in the way of Trump’s pro-business agenda, which has helped fueled the stock market’s rally the 2016 election.

A Reuters analysis of the past half century shows stocks fared better in the two calendar years after congressional elections when Republicans control Congress and the presidency than when Democrats controlled the two branches, and at least as well as during times of gridlock.

With the Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, the prospect of even tighter U.S. monetary policy after strong economic data, including the jobs report of Friday, is also on investors’ minds.

However, the upbeat report could not stop the U.S. market from snapping a three-day rally on Friday, after a bruising October, due to Apple Inc’s downbeat forecast and the White House dampening optimism over U.S.-China trade talks.

“U.S. equity markets need to find traction for this attempt at a rebound higher that took shape last week. Three variables that could well play a hand in that this week are: corporate earnings, the FOMC and midterm elections,” Peter Kenny, founder of Strategic Board Solutions in New York, wrote in a note.

“However, I remain constructive.”

At 7:29 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 10 points, or 0.04 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 2 points, or 0.07 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 2 points, or 0.03 percent.

Apple’s shares continued their decline on Monday, falling 1.1 percent in premarket trading after the Nikkei reported the company has told two smartphone assemblers to halt plans for additional production lines dedicated to the low-cost iPhone XR.

Berkshire Hathaway rose 2.9 percent after the conglomerate run by billionaire Warren Buffett said its quarterly operating profit doubled.

Overall, third-quarter results have been stronger than expected, with about 78 percent of the companies so far beating analysts’ estimates, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru)

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