Monday March 28th


Stock futures are flat as a big week of economic data kicks off

U.S. stock market index futures Stock futures were steady Monday morning as a week filled with key economic reports kicked off, and investors continue to keep a close eye on the Federal Reserve’s planned interest rate hikes. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3 points, while S&P 500 futures rose 0.1%. Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.1%. Shares of Tesla popped more than 5% in premarket trading on Monday on news it wants to split its stock so it can pay a stock dividend to shareholders. The Securities and Exchange Commission filing said Tesla will ask at its annual shareholders meeting “for an increase in the number of authorized shares of common stock ... in order to enable a stock split of the Company’s common stock in the form of a stock dividend.” Elsewhere on Monday, parts of The Treasury yield curve inverted on Monday, raising some recession concerns. Earlier on Monday, the yield on the 5-year Treasury note rose to 2.6361%, while the 30-year yield was down less than 1 basis point to 2.6004%. However, the main yield spread that traders watch — the spread between the 2-year and the 10-year rate — remained positive for now. The Dow and S&P 500 rose on Friday to close out their second consecutive winning week. The Dow gained 153 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 advanced 0.5% and has more than erased its losses since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.2% but still finished the week in the green. The moves came as investors continue to monitor developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine and expectations about the Fed’s plans to hike interest rates. “It seems the skyrocketing move higher with commodity prices has taken a break and that has allowed investors a chance to pile back into equities,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. “Geopolitical risks remain very elevated and the rally in equities over the past two weeks is impressive. The U.S. economy is still in good shape, but buying every stock market dip probably won’t be the attitude for most traders going forward given how hawkish the Fed has turned.” Investors continue to keep a close eye on the Fed. Wall Street firms from Goldman Sachs to Bank of America penciled in half-point hikes in future Fed meetings this year after the central bank’s chair Jerome Powell vowed to be tough on inflation and said rate increases could become more aggressive if necessary. On Friday, the benchmark 10-year yield touched a fresh multi-year high of 2.5% as investors priced in a more aggressive rate hike cycle, which helped lift financial stocks while tech stocks pulled back. Investors are looking forward to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, this week. The JOLTS report is one set of employment data that the Federal Reserve is watching closely as it tightens monetary policy. ADP will also release its private payrolls data ahead of the main show, the closely watched monthly jobs report, on Friday. Monday is a light day for earnings reports but several big companies are scheduled to report their quarterly results this week, including BioNTech, Micron and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Shares in Chinese tech firms mostly rose in mixed Asia-Pacific trading on Monday, with oil prices falling more than 3%. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong advanced 1.31% to close at 21,684.97. The broader Asia-Pacific markets struggled for direction on Monday. Mainland China’s Shanghai composite gained 0.07% to close at 3,214.50 while the Shenzhen component shed 1.017% to 11,949.94. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.73% to close at 27,943.89 while the Topix index ticked 0.41% lower to 1,973.37. South Korea’s Kospi was little changed on the day at 2,729.56. Oil prices fell more than $5 on Monday as fears over weaker fuel demand in China grew after its financial hub of Shanghai launched a planned two-stage lockdown on Monday to contain a surge in COVID-19 infections. The market kicked off another week of uncertainty, buffeted on one side by the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, the world’s second-largest crude exporter, and the expansion of COVID-related lockdowns in China, the world’s largest crude importer. Brent crude futures traded $5.27, or 4.4%, lower at $115.44 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures slid 4.8%, or $5.48, to trade at $108.42. Both benchmark contracts rose 1.4% on Friday, notching their first weekly gains in three weeks, with Brent surging more than 11.5% and WTI climbing 8.8%. Gold prices fell on Monday as the dollar index gained and U.S. Treasury yields held firm near multi-month highs, with investor focus on potential Russia-Ukraine peace talks this week further dimming bullion’s safe-haven appeal. Spot gold was down 0.7% at $1,943.72 per ounce, as of 0426 GMT. U.S. gold futures were down 0.5% at $1,943.50.