Stocks wavered Friday, as investors digested comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaling future interest-rate increases and continued to monitor the wave of corporate earnings.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 30 points, or 0.1%, after the index fell 368 points on Friday to close at 34,792. S&P 500 futures signaled a start 0.1% into the red with the tech-focused Nasdaq poised to slip 0.1%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended down 1.5% and 2.1% on Thursday, respectively.
Overseas, the pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.8% and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 retreated 1.6%.
The prospect of many interest-rate increases from the Federal Reserve this year and next and a reduction in the central bank’s bondholdings remains a key pressure for stocks, as the Fed readies to fight historically high inflation with tighter monetary policy.
Remarks from Powell late Thursday indicated that the Fed would likely raise interest rates by a sizable half-point in May.
“With the Fed’s May [Federal Open Market Committee meeting] communications blackout set to start tomorrow, Powell stayed true to the recent Fed line, saying many FOMC participants favored one or more +50 basis-point moves, noting that it would be appropriate to move relatively quickly, and that he wanted to get policy rates to neutral,” said Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank.
These comments helped weigh on stocks Thursday and saw bond yields climb higher, to new multiyear highs. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note climbed above 2.94% on Friday.
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