Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks futures swing higher as S&P 500 fights off bear market territory


U.S. stock futures were pointing to a higher start for Wall Street at the end of a volatile week, after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell cooled speculation over the potential for 75-basis point rate hikes.

How are stock-index futures trading?
  • S&P 500 futures ES00, +0.98% rose 1.1% to 3,971
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YM00, +0.67% 264 points, or 0.8%, to 31,917
  • Nasdaq 100 futures NQ00, +1.56% climbed 1.7% to 12,158

On Thursday, the Dow industrials DJIA, -0.33% dropped 103.81 points, or 0.3%, to end at 31,730.30, about 500 points off the session’s low, but notching a sixth day of losses. The S&P 500  SPX, -0.13% slipped 0.1% to 3,930.08. The Nasdaq Composite  COMP, +0.06% rose 0.1% to 11,370.96.

What’s driving the markets?

The Fed is not “actively considering” a 75-basis point interest rate increase, Fed Chairman Powell told Marketplace after the market close on Thursday, though he also said the central bank may not be able to engineer a “soft landing” for the economy.

Stocks pared losses on Thursday after the Senate confirmed Powell him to a second term.

But even if equities can manage a win on Friday, all three indexes are headed for sizable weekly losses, led by the Nasdaq, down 6.3% as of Thursday. That would mark the battered tech index’s sixth straight weekly loss, with the Dow industrials set to mark its seventh consecutive weekly loss, off 3.5%.

Down 4.6%, the S&P 500 is also poised to mark a sixth-straight weekly fall, as it also skirts bear market territory, defined as a drop of 20% from a recent peak. Off 18.1% from a Jan. 3 record high, the S&P would only need to close at or below 3,837.24 to enter a bear market.

Read: The S&P 500 is on the brink of a bear market. Here’s the threshold.

It would also mark the first time in over a decade that the index has seen six straight weeks of declines, pointed out a team of Deutsche Bank strategists led by Henry Hill.

“Unlike in April, when the equity declines were triggered by the prospect of a more aggressive Fed tightening cycle and went hand-in-hand with sovereign bond losses, this week’s declines have much more obviously surrounded global growth risks, which you can see in the way that Fed Funds futures are now beginning to take out some of the tightening they’d been pricing in over the year ahead,” said Hill.

The market has endured higher-than-forecast consumer prices this week, as well as continued high producer prices.

Read: Fed tightening comes ‘fraught with volatility’ in the stock market, but this JPMorgan portfolio manager says he isn’t betting on a U.S. recession

Economic data ahead includes April import prices at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, followed by the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for May at 10 a.m. Eastern and comments by Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari at 11 a.m. Eastern.

Some recovery in battered cryptocurrency markets opn Friday may also be helping sentiment overall, said analysts.

Bitcoin BTCUSD, +6.11% was trading at $30,360, after staging a slight recovery from a roughly 16-month low hit Thursday of $25,400, amid a collapse of some stablecoins, which are supposed to be pegged to the dollar.

Read: Why is UST, LUNA crashing? Collapse of a once $40 billion cryptocurrency, explained

How are other assets trading?
  • Treasury yields were on the rise. The yield on the 10-year note TMUBMUSD10Y, 2.910% rose 6 basis points to 2.875%, while that of the 2-year TMUBMUSD02Y, 2.594% gained 6 basis points to 2.760%.
  • Oil futures rose modestly, with the U.S. benchmark CL.1, +0.57%  up 0.7% at $106.90 a barrel. Gold futures  GC00, -0.21% inched down to $1,823.20 an ounce.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600  SXXP, +1.14% rose 0.6%, while London’s FTSE 100 UK:UKX gained 0.8%.
  • The Shanghai Composite CN:SHCOMP rose 0.9%, while the Hang Seng Index HK:HSI jumped 2.3% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 JP:NIK surged 2.6%.

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