Tesla set to boost Nasdaq; S&P, Dow to open flat

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By Ambar Warrick and Shashank Nayar

© Reuters/ERIC THAYER FILE PHOTO: A street sign is seen in front of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New York

(Reuters) -The S&P 500 and the Dow were set to open flat on Tuesday as investors stepped back ahead of key inflation data later in the week, while Tesla was on track to boost the Nasdaq on strong sales in China, a major market for the electric carmaker.

Tesla’s shares rose 2.9% in premarket trade after sales of its China-made electric vehicles surged 29% in May from the prior month, data showed.

U.S. shares of Chinese electric vehicle makers NIO Inc, Li Auto Inc and Xpeng Inc rose between 1.6% and 2.2%.

Major technology stocks were trading slightly higher, with FAANG stocks rising between 0.3% and 0.6% as investors digested the possible impact of a global plan to increase taxes on major multinational firms.

Still, Wall Street appeared to have fallen into a lull this week, having moved little on Monday after surging to record highs through a strong earnings season in May.

Video: China services growth slows as inflation rises (Reuters)

China services growth slows as inflation rises
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Investors are now awaiting further cues on policy tapering from the Federal Reserve after what is expected to be a strong inflation reading on Thursday.

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“It’s a very good and healthy pause the markets have taken right now and I would expect it to remain range-bound for now until any data that comes as a surprise,” said Sean O’Hara, president of Pacer ETFs in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

“Investors, however, are still a little jittery about inflation as they try to figure out if it is still a supply side issue or a more systemic one.”

The U.S. economy is set for a sharp bounceback from a COVID-induced slump, with recent inflation data indicating as much. But the labor market- a key factor for the Fed to consider tapering policy – has stalled in its recovery.

U.S. S&P 500 E-minis were up 6.5 points, or 0.15%at 07:55 a.m. EDT. Dow E-minis were down 22 points, or 0.06%, while Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 69.5 points, or 0.5%.

Planemaker Boeing rose more than 1% after Southwest Airlines said it will add 34 737 MAX 7 aircraft to its 2022 orders.

Shares of Clover Health Investments Corp and other “meme stocks” surged as small-time individual investors piled into some of the most heavily shorted U.S. stocks.

Private equity firm KKR & Co rose slightly after its unit, Independence Energy LLC, and Contango Oil & Gas Co said they will merge in an all-stock deal that would create an oil and gas company with an initial equity market capitalization of about $4.8 billion.

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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