Stocks were wavering Friday and the tech sector was weaker as investors remained focused on corporate earnings against a backdrop of ongoing concerns around inflation and the risk of recession.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 70 points, or 0.2%, after the index gained 162 points on Thursday to close at 32,036. S&P 500 futures signaled a start 0.4% into the red, with the tech-stock-heavy Nasdaq poised to tumble 0.8%; the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rallied 1% and 1.4%, respectively, in the last session.
Overseas, the pan-European Stoxx 600 was trading around flat and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was 0.4% higher as Asian stocks largely followed Wall Street’s Thursday rally.
The stock market was weaker and the tech sector was set to underperform as a rally from recent days was at risk of losing momentum. Corporate earnings late Thursday from social-media group Snap (ticker: SNAP) reported slowing sales, and the company said it wouldn’t provide forecasts for its performance in the current quarter.
“Markets will severely punish richly valued tech stocks at the first sign of trouble, and there is now some risk to the broader equity markets from the [rest of Big Tech] yet to report,” said Jeffrey Halley, an analyst at broker Oanda. “Inflation remains and will remain stubbornly high, geopolitical risk abounds, growth is slowing around the world, and recession risks are rising. I can’t see how that is a productive environment for equities, and that’s before the rest of big-tech reports.”
Investors are also focused on inflation concerns and recession risk ahead of a key monetary policy decision from the Federal Reserve next week. Facing the highest inflation in four decades, the Fed has already moved to raise interest rates multiple times this year in a bid to tame red-hot prices—and is expected to keep going after its policy committee meets next week. The risk is that denting economic demand to cool inflation could spur an economic slowdown.
“The next big focal point for markets comes with the Fed’s next decision on Wednesday,” said Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank. “Sadly there wasn’t much in the way of good news on the U.S. economy ahead of that, as the weekly initial jobless claims pointed to a softening labor market, although to be fair that’s part of the reason for rate hikes.”
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