Stocks looked poised to open lower Friday as the war in Ukraine and changes in U.S. monetary policy continued to loom large.
Futures for the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 180 points, or 0.5%, on Friday after the index rose 417 points on Thursday to close at 34,380.
futures signaled a start 0.6% into the red, with the
on track to open 0.7% lower.
Overseas, the pan-European
declined 0.1%, while Hong Kong’s
Hang Seng Index
slipped 0.3%, after notching the biggest two-day gains since 1998 on Wednesday and Thursday.
While U.S. stocks headed lower Friday, the major indexes were on track to close out the week higher after rallying for three straight days. Investors continue to watch the latest headlines on the Russia-Ukraine war — which has roiled equity and commodity markets for the past three weeks — as well as digest a shifting monetary policy environment.
The Federal Reserve pivoted away from pandemic-era stimulus earlier this week, with the Federal Open Market Committee announcing the first interest-rate increase since 2018 against a turbulent backdrop of global economic growth. The central bank is raising rates by 25 basis points, with markets pricing in as many as another seven hikes this year as the Fed fights historically high inflation.
“Markets are trying to make sense of a hawkish FOMC that announced a dovish rate hike and believes it can tighten aggressively while maintaining growth,” said Jeffrey Halley, an analyst at broker Oanda. “Not helping was a lack of clarity from the Ukraine-Russia talks, on what so much of the market’s recent asset class price action has been built on.”
Not much has changed on the Ukraine front. There have been mixed messages on the status of diplomatic talks, while Russia’s offensive on Ukrainian cities continues. The U.S. has made further commitments of military support to Ukraine, and President Joe Biden is set to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping later Friday about the conflict.
“Biden will reportedly emphasize the U.S. will impose costs on China were it to support Russia in the conflict,” said Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank. “U.S. intelligence warned that [Russian President Vladimir Putin] was likely to increase nuclear sabre rattling should the war drag on. This is something that hasn’t come up since three weekends ago so worrying news.”
In the commodity space, oil prices remained volatile and held above $100 a barrel amid warnings on supply tightness and pessimism on Russia-Ukraine peace breakthroughs. Sanctions on Russia have disrupted energy supply chains and oil has spiked as much as 30% in the span of a few weeks.
Futures for U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude were up 1.5% to above $104.50 a barrel; oil prices bottomed out below $94 on Tuesday after beginning the week trading above $106. Prices surged 9% on Wednesday.
“What gave the rally momentum was a warning from the [International Energy Agency] of a ‘supply crisis,’ describing the Russian sanctions as the ‘biggest supply crisis in decades,’” Halley noted. “ Of course, the IEA is simply telling everyone the obvious and what seems to be lost on markets is that nothing will change if a Ukraine agreement is enacted.”
Here are 3 stocks on the move Friday:
“Meme” stock and retail investor-favorite
(ticker: GME) was down near 7% in U.S. premarket trading after the video game retailer reported a surprise fourth-quarter loss late Thursday, even though sales came in ahead of expectations. Other meme stocks were lower, with
(AMC) down near 2% and
Bed Bath & Beyond
(BBBY) down 2%.
Write to Jack Denton at email@example.com