Thursday March 24th


Stock futures bounce Thursday as investors shake off Russia-Ukraine, Fed concerns

U.S. stock market index futures rose early Thursday morning as investors tried to recover from declines in Wednesday’s regular trading session. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose about 120 points, or 0.3%. S&P 500 added 0.5% and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.5%. Investors are continuing to monitor the war in Ukraine and weigh the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes amid persistent inflation. NATO leaders met in Brussels Thursday to discuss increasing pressure on Russia, as Ukraine appears to be retaking ground in the war. Last week, the Fed raised interest rates for the first time since 2018. Chair Jerome Powell on Monday vowed to be tough on inflation and opened the door for more aggressive half-percentage-point rate hikes. “The idea of having a soft landing was always going to be really challenging, and when you think about the additional wrinkle of a complication of Russia invasion of the past month, and the surge in commodity prices, it makes it super difficult for Fed to calibrate,” Michael Schumacher, head of macro strategy at Wells Fargo Securities, said on CNBC’s “Fast Money” on Wednesday. The S&P 500 fell into correction territory late February, but is now 7.5% off its highs. The Dow is also 7% from its intraday record and the Nasdaq Composite is off by 14%. The indexes posted a big rally last week, notching their best weekly performance since 2020. Stocks have seesawed this week, alternating between up and down days. The Dow is about 1% lower on the week while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are little changed. All three major averages are on track to close the month at least 1% higher. On Thursday, Spotify rose 3.7% in early morning trading, as Google said it will allow the streaming platform to offer its own billing on Android devices. Uber gained more than 5% after the company reached a deal to list all New York City taxis on its app, the Wall Street Journal reported. Olive Garden parent company Darden Restaurants saw shares dip 2% in premarket trading after a weaker-than-expected earnings report before the bell Thursday. KB Home dropped 3.8% after an earnings miss Wednesday. On the data front, initial jobless claims last week totaled 187,000, the lowest level since 1969, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Asia-Pacific markets struggled for direction on Thursday as oil prices saw volatile trading following yesterday’s 5% jump. Shares in Singapore outperformed the broader Asia-Pacific region, with the Straits Times index climbing around 0.8%, as of 4:12 p.m. local time. Those gains came as the country’s prime minister on Thursday announced plans to ease Covid restrictions. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed 0.94% lower at 21,945.95. In mainland China, the Shanghai composite declined 0.63% to end the trading day at 3,250.26 while the Shenzhen component shed 0.831% to 12,305.50. The Nikkei 225 in Japan recovered from earlier losses to close 0.25% higher at 28,110.39, adding to its 3% jump from Wednesday. The Topix index gained 0.14% to 1,981.56. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.2% on the day to 2,729.66. Crude prices moved between gains and losses in volatile trading on Thursday as investors assessed the potential for new supply in the tight markets amid prospects of a new Iran deal. Brent futures were up 29 cents at $121.90 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures was flat at $114.90. Both contracts rose $2 and $1, respectively, in early trade. Gold struggled for direction on Thursday as safe-haven support from the Russian invasion of Ukraine was countered by signs that U.S. Federal Reserve officials could act more aggressively to tame inflation. Spot gold was last up 0.1% at $1,945.56 per ounce. U.S. gold futures rose 0.3% at $1,943.10.