Thursday December 8th


Stock futures are little changed as investors assess risk of an economic downturn

U.S. stock index futures were flat Thursday after the S&P 500 declined for a fifth consecutive day and Wall Street evaluated the likelihood of a recession ahead. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 50 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.2%, while Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.2%. Shares of Rent the Runway surged more than 17% in premarket trading. The online retailer topped revenue expectations in its most recent quarter as shoppers opted to borrow designer clothes amid rising inflation. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 declined 0.19% in its fifth straight losing session. The Dow was virtually flat, adding just 1.58 points. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.51%. “U.S. equity futures are trying to stabilize, and Treasuries are witnessing tiny profit taking, but the mood is still gloomy,” said Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge in a note to clients Thursday. “The problem for domestic stocks is the absence of catalysts – two inflation figures come Fri (PPI and Michigan expectations), but the real fireworks arrive next week.” Investors’ attention has shifted toward next week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting, where the central bank is widely expected to issue a 50 basis point interest rate hike. It’s a smaller increase than the prior four rate hikes, but may do little to alleviate concerns over whether the Fed can avoid a recession next year in its attempt to squash surging prices. November’s consumer price index, due Tuesday, should also provide more clarity on the direction of inflation. In the near term, Wall Street awaits the latest data on weekly jobless claims before the bell on Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones are anticipating claims to come in at 230,000, up slightly from the prior week’s total of 225,000. Traders expect most recent earnings results from Lululemon Athletica, DocuSign, Broadcom and Costco after the bell Thursday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index popped on Thursday, as a local news outlet reported the city is considering further easing of Covid measures, including lifting its outdoor mask rule and relaxing mandatory testing for arrivals. The Hang Seng index closed 3.38% higher at 19,450.23, and the Hang Seng Tech index added 6.64% — bucking the trend in the wider Asia-Pacific region, which were weighed down by continued recession fears. In mainland China, the Shenzhen Component dipped 0.254% to close at 11,389.79 while the Shanghai Composite was about flat at 3,197.35. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.4% and closed at 27,574.43, while the Topix was 0.35% lower at 1,941.50. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.49% to 2,371.08. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.75% to 7,175.50. Oil rebounded on Thursday after four sessions of decline, boosted by hopes that easing anti-COVID measures in China will revive demand and by signs that some tankers carrying Russian oil have been delayed after a G7 price cap came into effect. China on Wednesday announced the most sweeping changes to its resolute anti-COVID regime since the pandemic began, while at least 20 oil tankers faced delays in crossing to the Mediterranean from Russia’s Black Sea ports. Brent crude rose 27 cents, or 0.4%, to $77.44 a barrel by 1120 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 49 cents, or 0.7%, to $72.50. Gold edged lower on Thursday due to a slight uptick in the dollar, although bullion traded in a narrow range as investors looked to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike decision next week. Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,782.13 per ounce as of 0942 GMT after rising more than 1% on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures eased 0.2% to $1,793.70. The dollar index rose 0.2% against its rivals, making gold more expensive for other currency holders.