Friday February 18th


Stock futures are little changed after Dow suffers its worst day of the year

U.S. stock market index futures are little changed in premarket trading Friday following the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s worst day of 2022 as investors dumped risk assets amid geopolitical concerns. Futures on the blue-chip Dow were up by about 50 points or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures were marginally lower and Nasdaq 100 futures were near flat. Investors continue to be on edge about the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The Ukrainian government and Russian state-controlled media on Friday exchanged fresh accusations of cease-fire violations at the border. Ukraine on Thursday accused pro-Russian separatists of attacking a village near the border. In the U.S., meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the United Nations and warned that the situation is at a “moment of peril.” Wall Street suffered a steep sell-off on Thursday, with the Dow falling more than 600 points for its biggest daily drop since the end of November. The S&P 500 dropped more than 2% to break a two-day winning streak, while the Nasdaq Composite declined 2.9%. “Markets tend to overreact to geopolitical events,” Credit Suisse’s Andrew Garthwaite said in a note Friday. Investors have been grappling with the outlook for Federal Reserve policy. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who had just called for aggressive action, warned that inflation could get out of control without rate hikes. The economic calendar is light Friday, with existing home sales on tap at 10 a.m. Several Fed officials will speak, including governors Lael Brainard and Christopher Waller and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, all of whom will appear at the U.S. Monetary Policy Forum in New York. Major averages are on pace for their second negative week in a row. The Dow is down 1.2% week to date, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have fallen 0.9% and 0.5% this week, respectively. “Wall Street is feeling very jittery as it looks to the left and sees intensifying geopolitical risks with the Ukraine situation and then it looks to the right and sees the potential for aggressive Fed tightening,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, said in a note. Roku shares dropped as much as 12% in extended trading after the video-streaming company reported a revenue miss and issued a weaker-than-expected guidance. Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Friday, as investors in the region continued to assess the risk from simmering tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Japan’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.41% to close at 27,122.07, trimming losses after declining more than 1% earlier, while the Topix index dipped 0.36% to 1,924.31. Over in South Korea, the Kospi ended the trading day little changed at 2,744.52. Mainland Chinese stocks closed higher as the Shanghai composite gained 0.66% to 3,490.76 and the Shenzhen component climbed 0.274% to 13,459.68. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped about 1%, as of its final hour of trading. Oil prices extended losses on Friday and were heading for a weekly fall as the prospect of increased Iranian oil exports eclipsed fears of potential supply disruption resulting from the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Brent crude futures fell $1.92, or 2%, to $91.07, extending a 1.9% drop from the previous session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures shed $1.97, or 2.1%, to $89.76 a barrel after sliding 2% on Thursday. Gold retreated slightly from the key $1,900 level on Friday as a potential Russia-U.S. meeting cooled some nerves about an escalation in the Ukraine conflict, but the recent rally set bullion up for a third straight weekly gain. Spot gold fell 0.5% to $1,887.71 per ounce by 1042 GMT, after earlier touching its highest since June 2021 at $1,902.22 en route to post a weekly gain of about 1.5%. U.S. gold futures fell 0.7% to $1,889.20.