Futures climb following Wall St selloff after Fed holds rates steady


(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, following a Wall Street selloff in the previous session as the Federal Reserve dashed hopes for early interest rate cuts, with the focus moving to economic data and Big Tech earnings scheduled for later in the day.

The S&P 500 and the tech-laden Nasdaq on Wednesday notched their biggest one-day percentage declines since September and October, respectively, while the Dow saw its steepest decline in six weeks.

Keeping interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, the Fed reminded markets of its undeterred focus on battling inflation and smashed speculations of policy easing kicking off in March.

However, some market participants believe cooling consumer prices and steady economic growth were more important than the timing of the first interest rate cut. Markets are still pricing in some 140 basis points in Fed cuts this year, compared to the Fed’s projections of 75 basis points.

“We remain confident that inflation will be low enough to spur the Fed to begin easing monetary policy at either its March or May meeting,” said Preston Caldwell, chief U.S. economist for Morningstar Research Services LLC.

“We are still forecasting a total of 150 bps of cuts in 2024 and the federal funds rate to end the year at 3.75%–4%.”

Focus moves back to Big Tech earnings that would shed light on whether megacap stocks can sustain their recent rally, fueled by the hype around artificial intelligence and hopes of early rate cuts.

Apple’s iPhone sales are expected to have seen the best growth in five quarters, but analysts see a tough year for the company in China, while investors will monitor whether Amazon.com can cash in on its delivery heft by boosting fee revenue from its “Buy With Prime” service.

Meta Platforms is likely to see a muted impact from generative AI on its advertising business.

The three tech giants, up between 0.5% and 1% in premarket trading, will report earnings after the closing bell, a day after investors punished Alphabet and Microsoft on mounting costs of developing generative AI-powered products.

Merck, Honeywell International, Peloton Interactive, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Sirius XM Holdings, among others, are some of the major earnings before market open.

On the data front, investors will keep an eye out for weekly jobless claims and manufacturing PMI readings scheduled throughout the day.

At 5:38 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 46 points, or 0.12%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 17 points, or 0.35%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 101.5 points, or 0.59%.

Qualcomm fell 1.4% on concerns over Android sales in China, even though the chip maker forecast second-quarter profit slightly above estimates and in-line sales.

Tesla was up 2.1%. The EV maker will hold a shareholder vote to transfer its state of incorporation to Texas from Delaware.

New York Community Bancorp recovered 2.3% after Wednesday’s 38% slide on a dividend cut and surprise loss.

(Reporting by Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Shubham Batra; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)



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