Stock futures pointed to a higher open Thursday morning after dropping a day earlier, as investors gave back some gains as jitters over inflation remained and overshadowed the latest batch of solid corporate earnings results.
Contracts on the S&P 500 gained during early trading. Though the index ended Wednesday’s session lower, it remained up by 1.8% for November to date, and was less than 0.7% below its all-time intraday high.
Nvidia (NVDA) shares jumped in pre-market trading after the semiconductor company posted record quarterly revenues and strong full-year guidance, suggesting it was effectively navigating a lingering global shortage and meeting elevated demand. Dow company Cisco (CSCO), however, saw results dented by components shortages, and the computer networking equipment company posted a disappointing current-quarter forecast. Meanwhile, retailer Victoria’s Secret (VSCO) saw shares surge after delivering much better-than-expected third-quarter profits and suggesting sales would grow by as much as 3% in the current period.
The broader equity market drop on Wednesday coincided with a set of new economic data showing a surprise drop in new-home construction last month. Commentary about inflation also mounted and added to investors’ concerns over elevated price pressures. Target (TGT) executives flagged rising labor and other input costs during their earnings call on Wednesday and added to a chorus of other company mentions of inflation.
The possibility that elevated inflation will stick around longer than previously anticipated remained a central focus for investors, both for its potential dampening effect on consumer spending, and as a potential catalyst for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than previously telegraphed. The U.S. central bank has so far maintained its accommodative tilt and telegraphed that an initial interest rate hike could take place sometime next year, depending on the evolution of the economic recovery. Investors also continue to await a formal announcement from President Joe Biden about his nominee for Fed chair, with the most likely candidates being current Fed Chair Jerome Powell, and current Fed Governor Lael Brainard.
The Fed’s present still-accommodative leaning has helped support equity markets and capped Treasury yields, which has in turn further kept investors focused on riskier assets like stocks over bonds.
“The yield question is kind of global in nature,” Uma Pattarkine, CenterSquare senior analyst, told Yahoo Finance Live on Wednesday. “We still see [central] banks being very, very accommodative. So it seems like we might be kind of in this ‘lower rate for a longer time’ environment.
“At this point investors really need to be looking at yields, where they can get it elsewhere in the market if they’re not planning on getting it through fixed income in the near future, until we see that movement in the global rate market,” Pattarkine added.
8:35 a.m. ET: Initial unemployment claims come in slightly higher-than-expected, but still reach fresh pandemic-era low
First-time unemployment claims narrowly set a new pandemic-era low last week, representing further steady progress in the labor market’s recovery as the number of those newly unemployed marched closer to pre-pandemic levels.
New unemployment claims came in at 268,000 during the week ended Nov. 13. This was down by a tick compared to the upwardly revised 269,000 reported for the previous week. Consensus economists were looking for new claims to come in at 260,000 for the latest period, according to Bloomberg data.
Continuing claims across regular state programs also came in at their lowest level since March 2020 at 2.080 million for the week ended Nov. 6. This was a bigger improvement than expected, since economists were looking for continuing claims to total 2.120 million.
7:32 a.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures advance
Here’s where markets were trading Thursday morning:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +11.75 points (+0.25%), to 4,696.00
Dow futures (YM=F): +34 points (+0.09%), to 35,901.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +84.25 points (+0.52%) to 16,395.75
Crude (CL=F): -$0.67 (-0.84%) to $77.69 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): -$4.20 (-0.22%) to $1,866.00 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): -0.5 bps to yield 1.599%
6:17 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures open mixed
Here’s where markets were trading Wednesday evening:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +0.5 points (+0.01%), to 4,686.75
Dow futures (YM=F): -34 points (-0.09%), to 35,833.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +18 points (+0.11%) to 16,329.5
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter