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U.S. stocks were set to open lower Monday as investors weighed a surprise interest rate hike in China as the nation struggles to keep its rapid growth and inflation in check.
"There's not a lot of economic news this week, so investors will be looking at China's move," said Robert Brusca, chief economist at Fact and Opinion Economics.
On Sunday, the People's Bank of China raised its benchmark interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, increasing its one-year lending rate to 5.81% and the one-year deposit rate to 2.75%. It was the second hike in just over two months. China raised rates in October for the first time in three years.
"I'm not a big believer that China is that important right now, but a lot of people are concerned that China is slowing down its economy, which would affect the global economy," Brusca said.
On Thursday, stocks ended a strong week on a quiet note, as mixed economic data kept investors from jumping in ahead of a long holiday weekend.
While markets were closed Friday, stocks are still on track to post double-digit increases for the year.
Trading volume is expected to be extremely light. In addition to the holidays, a major snowstorm in the Northeast will likely keep many Wall Street employees from getting to work.
Companies: Airline stocks came under pressure Monday after carriers were forced to cancel and delay hundreds of flights due to a blizzard that pummeled the East Coast.
Shares of Delta (DAL, Fortune 500), JetBlue Airways (JBLU) and American Airlines' parent company AMR (AMR, Fortune 500) all dipped lower in premarket trading.
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