US equity futures fell slightly ahead of a series of economic data releases that should stimulate discussion among investors about the Federal Reserve’s response to the strengthening economic recovery.
S&P 500-linked futures slipped 0.3%, suggesting a reversal of lukewarm gains on Wednesday. Futures on the Nasdaq-100 fell 0.5%, indicating moderate losses for tech stocks after the opening bell.
The broader stock indexes faltered this week as concerns about soaring inflation eased and Fed officials signaled that talks about adjusting the pace of asset purchases could begin in the near future. . Investors are closely monitoring indicators of economic activity to try to understand when monetary stimulus may start to be cut.
“We’re trying to figure out if there’s this larger than life moment for the US economy. It will question what the Fed should do, ”said Ludovic Subran, chief economist at Allianz. “The stock market has been in a bit of a standby mode, awaiting this confirmation.”
US durable goods orders for April are expected to start at 8:30 a.m. ET and are expected to rise, reflecting strong demand for cars, appliances and other factory products. A revision of the US gross domestic product for the first quarter will also be released.
The latest data on initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, will be released at the same time. Economists forecast a further decline to a new pandemic low, as the labor market continues to improve.
The growth spurt spurred by the reopening of the economy could be nearing its peak, said Andrew Cole, multi-asset fund manager at Pictet Asset Management. “We will probably see a deceleration in the growth rate from here and it’s always an uncomfortable time for the markets.”
The earnings season is drawing to a close, with a few more companies to report. Dollar General and Best Buy are expected to report earnings before the opening bell, while Salesforce.com and Costco are expected to report results after markets close.
In pre-market commerce, the Williams-Sonoma household goods company rose nearly 5% after reporting a six-fold increase in quarterly profits and raising its outlook for the full year. Ford Motor rose nearly 2%, up for a second day after saying it expected 40% of its vehicle volume to be fully electric by 2030.
In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bill climbed to 1.582% from 1.572% on Wednesday.
Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 index was relatively stable, down less than 0.1%. Royal Dutch Shell fell 1.2% per day after a Dutch court ruled that the oil company was partly responsible for climate change and ordered it to speed up its plans to cut carbon emissions.
Shares of Airbus climbed 6.2% after asking its suppliers to prepare for a ramp-up in aircraft production. Bayer fell nearly 4% after a U.S. judge rejected an attempt to limit future liability over whether its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer.
In Asia, the major benchmarks were mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4% while the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index fell 0.2%.
Bitcoin was up 1.3% from Wednesday’s 5 p.m. level, trading around $ 39,200, after crossing $ 40,000 the previous day. The cryptocurrency is down almost 40% from its mid-April high.
Write to Anna Hirtenstein à [email protected]
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