Stock-index futures struggle for altitude as midterms, Fed policy update loom

U.S. stock futures edged lower Monday, in a week set to be teeming with news, including an updated policy statement from the Federal Reserve and midterm elections that could alter the balance of power in Washington.

How did benchmarks fare?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMZ8, -0.03% were off 29 points, or 0.1%, at 25,212, while S&P 500 index futures ESZ8, +0.02% were 2.05 points lower at 2,722.25, down less than 0.1%, and Nasdaq-100 futures NQZ8, -0.20%  fell 15.75 points, or 0.2%, to 6,964.75.

On Friday, the Dow DJIA, -0.43% lost 109.91 points, or 0.4%, to end at 25,270.83, the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.63% fell 17.31 points, or 0.6%, to 2,723.06, and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -1.04%  declined 77.06 points, or 1%, to 7,356.99.

For the week, both the Dow and the S&P 500 rose 2.4% and the Nasdaq advanced 2.7%, its first weekly gain since the end of September.

What drove the market?

Midterm congressional elections, which are expected to see Democrats take control of the House and Republicans maintain a grip on the Senate, take place Tuesday. On Thursday, the Fed concludes a two-day policy meeting, which isn’t expected to deliver a change in rates but may offer fresh insights to investors about the pace of coming rate increases and the effects of trade clashes between the U.S. and China on the domestic economy.

On Friday, markets contended with a series of conflicting headlines on the progress of negotiations between Beijing and Washington. Stocks pared losses in late trade Friday after President Donald Trump said progress was being made in talks with Chinese leadership. A few hours earlier, his top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said the U.S. and China were a long way from reaching a trade deal.

On Monday, China’s President Xi Jinping,

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