Friday April 29th


Stock futures slide as Nasdaq heads for its worst month since March 2020

U.S. stock index futures fell Friday morning to wrap up April trading, with the Nasdaq Composite on pace for the worst month since March 2020. Futures tied to the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 fell 1.3%. Dow Jones Industrial Average Futures were down about 150 points, or 0.5%. S&P 500 futures retreated by 1%. Stocks were set to finish the month lower as investors have contended with a slew of headwinds, from the Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening, rising rates, persistent inflation, Covid case spikes in China and the ongoing war in Ukraine. The Dow is off by 2.2% for the month and the S&P 500 is down 5.4%. The Nasdaq is down 9.5%, its worst monthly performance since the onset of the Covid pandemic. A hot inflation reading Friday underscored the difficult environment. The core personal consumption expenditures price index — the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge — rose 5.2% from a year ago. First-quarter earnings reports could not turn around markets this month. About 80% of S&P 500 companies have beat quarterly earnings expectations, with about half of the index’s members having reported results so far, according to FactSet. “Despite what we view as a solid overall earnings period so far, the positive results look to be getting overshadowed by some of the broader concerns related to inflation and the Fed,” BMO’s Brian Belski said in a note to clients. Friday wraps up one of the busiest weeks for the first-quarter earnings season and a particularly intense one for tech companies, which have driven investor sentiment throughout the week. The technology sector has been hard hit in April as high interest rates hurt valuations, and supply chain issues stemming from Covid and the war in Ukraine disrupt business. Investor focus Friday was on Amazon, whose shares tumbled around 9% in extended trading after reporting Thursday evening a surprise loss thanks to its investment in Rivian and issued weak revenue guidance for the second quarter. Apple shares were also under pressure despite an earnings beat, falling less than 1% after CFO Luca Maestri said supply chain constraints could hinder fiscal third-quarter revenue. The stock came off its premarket lows as analysts said to buy the dip. Intel also reported earnings Thursday evening. The stock fell more than 4% in early morning trading after the company issued weak guidance for its fiscal second quarter. Shares of Robinhood dropped more than 9% premarket, after the company reported a wider-than-expected loss, shrinking revenue and a decrease in monthly active users. Shares in Asia-Pacific rose on Friday, with technology stocks in the region jumping following big gains on Wall Street that saw the Nasdaq Composite surging 3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed 4.01% higher at 21,089.39, leading gains among the region’s major markets. Mainland Chinese stocks also saw sizable gains, with the Shanghai Composite closing 2.41% higher at 3,047.06 while the Shenzhen Component soared 3.693% to around 11,021.44. South Korea’s broader Kospi rose 1.03% to close at 2,695.05. Markets in Japan were closed on Friday for a holiday. Oil prices rose for a fourth day on Friday as fears over Russian supply disruption trumped COVID-19 lockdowns in China, the world’s biggest crude importer. Brent crude futures rose $1.79, or 1.7%, to $109.38 a barrel after gaining 2.1% in the previous session. The front-month June contract expires later on Friday. The more active July contract rose $1.54 to $108.80. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude gained $1.08, or 1%, to $106.44 after advancing by 3.3% on Thursday. Both contracts are set to finish up on the week and post their fifth straight monthly gains, buoyed by the increased likelihood that Germany will join other European Union member states in an embargo on Russian oil. Gold rose on Friday as worrying U.S. economic data rekindled some interest in the safe-haven metal, but was likely to log a monthly drop on bets for aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. Spot gold was up 1.2% at $1,916.50 per ounce, but had lost about 1% so far this month. U.S. gold futures were up 1.4% at $1,918.40.